The following are some small excerpts from the investigative report titled DEAD MEN WALKING from the most recent issue of Discover: IMO, it highlights how Bush wants to keep the troops in a futile war with an unacceptable price, and yet, he, himself, will not support the troops by insuring the money will be there to treat the wounded. At the same time he tries to shame Americans who advocate pulling our troops out with the rhetoric that if we want to cut and run then we don’t support the troops. I think his new budget proposal that cuts funding for the care of our war heroes makes it perfectly clear how he doens't support our precious troops.
"In a flash, the blast incinerates air, sprays metal burns flesh. Milliseconds after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonates, a blink after a mortar shell blows, an overpressurization wave engulfs the human body, and just a quickly, an underpressure wave follows and vanishes. Eardrums burst, bubbles appear in the bloodstream, the heart slows. A soldier – or a civilian – can survive the blast without a single penetrating wound and still receive the worst diagnosis: traumatic brain injury, or TBI, the signature injury of the Iraq War.
"Blast related brain injuries can deliver multiple TBIs. First there is the barotraumas, in which the body suffers the same magnitude of pressure felt deep underwater. It’s theorized that portions of the brain swell and decompress almost instantly during this stage, causing a host of cellular defect throughout the brain. Objects like shrapnel and gravel penetrate the skull, ping-ponging within the cranium walls. The force of the blast then blows and individual up against an object like a wall or a roof, causing blunt trauma to the head. Finally, in response to these injuries, the brain releases a metabolic cascade of neurochemicals that have a toxic effect on the brain tissue.
"But in the same instant that the blast unleashes chaos, it also activates the most organized and sophisticated trauma care in history. Within 13 hours, a soldier can be medivaced to a state-of-the-art field hospital, placed on a flying intensive care unit,
"NO OTHER WAR HAS CREATED SO MANY SERIOUSLY DISABLED VETERANS."
"Soldiers are surviving some brain injuries with only their brain stems unimpaired.
“While the Pentagon has yet to release hard numbers on brain-injured troops, citing security issues, brain-injury professionals express concern about the range of number reported from other military related sources like the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). One expert from the VA estimates the number of undiagnosed TBIs at over 7,500. Nearly 2,000 brain-injured soldiers have already received some level of care. But the TBIs – human beings reduced to an abbreviation - - keep on coming.”
“The moment an injured soldier hits the helipad at Balad (Air Base), he’s swept into a whirlwind of critical care…. Amid the cramped bustle, doctors are pushing the boundaries of medicine. They’re going through crates of the hemophilia drug Factor VII, yet to be approved for trauma but a wonder drug in stopping bleedouts. At $3,000 a vial, two vials per dose, the price is a drop in the bucket compared with the expenses incurred during the critical phase of recovery, which can easily exceed a million dollars in the coming weeks. The lifetime cost of care for brain-injured troops could reach $35 BILLION, according to a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a Harvard University budget expert.”
“…Marilyn Price Spivack… is innately tenacious, bold, and energetic. The availability of cognitive, neurobehavioral, and mental health services is sorely lacking, Spivack explains….’The military is doing an extraordinary job in saving young soldiers and treating them through the ACUTE rehabilitation phase’ says Spivack, who works with the brain-injured population at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. In the early 1980s she founded the Brain Injury Association, today7 the foremost advocacy organization for TBI survivors… ‘Now the government must make a commitment to help them in their recovery, but where are the resources going to come from? As brain-injury professionals, we know that TBI services aren’t available in many places across the country and we are aware of huge holes in the system,’ she says. ‘Frankly, I’m frustrated and angry about the government’s refusal to give the TBI population the support it desperately needs…. Many states do not have a single brain injury rehabilitation center, and of the states that do offer some level of TBI treatment, few actually provide enough assistance to acquire even the most basic level of specialized care. At rates that can exceed a thousand dollars a day for POST ACUTE TBI rehabilitation, there aren’t many American families that that can afford a month’s worth of treatment, much less the recommended MINIMUM of 90 days.”
“As recently as mid-July 2006, the VA Office of the Inspector General admitted that patients and families were dealing with major inadequacies. The reality is that a fundamental level of care is simply absent in most states…. Problems experienced by patients and families include inadequate or absent communication with case managers, lack of follow-up care, and being forced to pay out of pocket for necessary treatments and medication."