Tuesday, June 17, 2008

from Colonel Dan

For too many, the initials VA stand for ‘Veterans’ Adversary,’”

small portion reprinted below

Extensive article and links at:

As of April 29 the Pentagon counted 31,848 wounded service members in the current conflicts. Independent experts say that is a conservative figure. They estimate the number of brain injuries alone might total 320,000, or 20 percent of the 1.64 million who have served so far—a number that S. Ward Casscells, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, calls “plausible.” In addition to the physical injuries, there are thousands of cases of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Last year military screeners detected psychological symptoms in 31 percent of Marines, 38 percent of soldiers, and 49 percent of National Guardsmen returning from war.

For many of the newly injured, most in their late teens and 20s, the logical direction to turn for care is toward Mom and Dad. Many of the wounded are still single. Others are married to partners who can’t or don’t want to care for gravely injured spouses. As a result, across the nation, parents end up scrubbing burn wounds, suctioning tracheostomy tubes, and bathing their adult children. They assist with physical and occupational therapy. They fight for benefits. They deal with mental health crises and help children who have brain injuries to relearn skills. They drive back and forth to Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals for outpatient appointments. In short, they put their own lives on hold.


Equally challenging was Cynthia’s belief that the Army was trying to rush Rory’s discharge before he was ready. If he officially left active duty, Rory would be transferred from Walter Reed, which the military runs, to the VA medical system, which falls under a different branch of government. He would, therefore, be under the jurisdiction of a different health system. Cynthia was convinced her son still needed the care of Reed’s top-notch surgeons, but the Army wanted him to sign a form initiating the discharge process. “Within days of his coming out of his coma, the colonel at Walter Reed was at Rory’s bedside, putting a pen in Rory’s hand,” she says. “Rory had no forehead. No eyesight. No hearing. Couldn’t walk. He was doped on fentanyl.” Cynthia walked over and took the pen out of the soldier’s hand. “Rory’s not signing anything today,” she recalls saying.

The Price of War

Troops returning with PTSD: 13.8 percent, or 226,000

Troops returning with major depression: 13.7 percent, or 225,000

Two-year cost of treating PTSD and major depression: $4 billion to $6.2 billion

The Facts of War

Percentage of active-duty forces between 17 and 24 years of age: 47

Percentage of military personnel who are unmarried: 48

Percentage of returning troops reporting the death or serious injury of a friend: 49

Source: “Invisible Wounds of War,” Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research, 2008

"Keep on, Keepin' on"
Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"
See my web site at: Angelfire

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: