According to reports from National Public Radio (NPR) and ProPublica, three congressmen want answers from medical officials at Fort Bliss about the treatment soldiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat receive.
Our brain injury lawyers blogged about the original report done by NPR and ProPublica on the treatment of soldiers with traumatic brain injures. Needless to say, we were a little upset by the report, and that feeling has apparently spread to high members of the United States government.
Congress investigates treatment of soldiers with brain injuries at Fort Bliss.
New Mexico representative Harry Teague along with Texas representatives Ciro Rodriguez and Silvestre Reyes have responded to a previous report about soldiers at William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss in New Mexico and Texas. They believe an investigation is necessary to asses a dire situation for soldiers stationed there recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
“We are deeply concerned that our government could be failing those to whom we owe the most,” the three men wrote in a letter to Fort Bliss. “These reports must be investigated and receive the full attention of the United States Congress and government.”
In the original investigation, NPR and ProPublica discovered that soldiers at Fort Bliss had problems getting diagnosis and treatment for concussions. These types of injuries do not leave visible signs of damage, but long-term brain damage is very possible.
Official numbers from the military show about 115,000 troops have suffered concussions since 2002. Many others, however, go undiagnosed or undocumented. These soldiers do recover fast, but 5 to 15 percent have cognitive problems that continue to linger throughout their lives. Soldiers at Fort Bliss have told reporters they struggled to get doctors, and when they did, they got far fewer hours of therapy than patients at civilian clinics.
Fort Bliss had raised billions of dollars for a traumatic brain injury clinic built almost a year ago called Building 805. To this day, those doors haven’t opened. A full-time director for the program wasn’t assigned until October of 2009.
Officials at the site have declined to answer questions from NPR and ProPublica, and medical commander Colonel James Baunchalk denied any allegations about complaints regarding traumatic brain injury treatment.
Millions of soldiers put their lives on the line for the freedom of the United States. Since these brave men and women take the risk of paying the ultimate cost, our government and medical officials should pay whatever price it takes to help soldiers who have suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat.
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