Every day, soldiers face the prospect of suffering a brain injury that can cause serious problems after the fighting stops. If that wasn’t difficult enough, National Public Radio reports that the military has had a problem treating and diagnosing these brain injuries.
Our brain injury lawyers believe military scientists and researchers should do everything they can to protect the soldiers risking their lives. New technologies have produced better weapons and better body armor to stop bullets, but traumatic brain injuries like concussions continue to be a problem.
The military still has problems treating and diagnosing traumatic brain injuries.
Military officials believe that about 115,000 troops have suffered some kind of mild traumatic brain injury since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to military research received by NPR and ProPublica, tens of thousands more have gone uncounted.
“When someone’s missing a limb, you can see that,” said a Bronze Star recipient who survived several roadside explosions in Iraq. “When someone has a brain injury, you can’t see it, but it’s still serious.”
Blast waves from these bombs, a common insurgents weapon, can damage the brain as shock-waves pulse through helmets and skulls, possibly causing brain damage at the cellular level. If there’s secondary trauma (like going into a wall), further brain injuries are possible.
For over four months, NPR and ProPublica examined government records, and some of their findings included the following:
- One military test fails to catch as many as 40 percent of concussions. A second exam is as reliable as a coin flip according to top medical officials.
- Even when military doctors diagnose traumatic brain injuries, the information doesn’t get put into soldiers’ permanent medical files.
- Without diagnosis and official documentation, soldiers with head injuries have had to fight for the right medical treatment.
This is not the first time military procedure in handling traumatic brain injuries has been criticized. An ABC News reporter reported that some soldiers found difficulty getting treatment for head trauma after he himself suffered a head injury in 2006. A year later, the Washington Post did a series about conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital.
Congress has responded by dedicating more than $1.7 billion to research and traumatic brain injury treatment as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. Much more works needs to be done to protect the brave men and women who fight for our nation.
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