U.S. Soldier’s Cause of Death Finally Revealed

U.S. Navy SEAL trainee Kyle Mullen died in February 2022, shortly after completing Hell Week of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training. 

The Navy has just issued a comprehensive investigation into Mullen’s death. According to the 198-page report, Mullen’s death was caused by systemic failures on the part of the medical staff at BUD/S. These failures included inadequate medical oversight, bad relay of critical medical information among medical personnel, and failure to recognize that Mullen was ill.

The Navy determined that Mullen died of Streptococcus pyogenes-related acute pneumonia.

To prevent similar fatalities in the future, the paper offers many suggestions for improving BUD/S instruction. 

BTC Medical, the facility responsible for Mullen’s treatment during Hell Week, did not address medical practice, procedures, and standard operating procedures. 

The report’s conclusions—that the NSW medical system lacked proper monitoring and that other people in training saw his worsening health while he hid it from medical staff—are the most crucial information presented in this article. After Hell Week, all students spend at least 24 hours under observation in the barracks, where they are evaluated and classified according to the severity of their medical condition. This is part of a new medical surveillance system instituted by the Center. According to the article, the restructuring process is ongoing, with some uncertainty. 

An improved medical monitoring and treatment program may have avoided the tragic circumstances that led to Seaman Mullen’s death.

The study included suggestions on addressing the problem of PEDs and how to enhance the selection, training, and quality of BUD/S instructors and the BUD/S program. 

Methods of recognizing dangers and eliminating them from training were also highlighted.