Brain Injury Investigation: Army Responds
After the first part of the report by Danny Zwerdling and T. Christian Miller of NPR and ProPublica there was the following, before the second part, that aired on the NPR show 'Talk of the Nation'.
Guests Danny Zwerdling, NPR national desk correspondent and Gen. Peter Chiarelli, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff
June 9, 2010 An NPR investigation found that the U.S. military often fails to diagnose traumatic brain injuries in troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The investigation also revealed that many soldiers receive little or no treatment for lingering health problems after suffering brain injuries.
There's a few points that can be made as to the Generals talking points on this, but all I'll say now is, he should get away from the talking points of professional football and soldiers in war zones. There is absolutely nothing of sport about war, nor is it a computer game. There is also no comparison as to football players and some of them developing brain injuries after years of playing and bombs going off in war that do damage in many ways as they shake the brain beyond anything that's even close or in slamming a soldiers head up against the nearest hard surface. Some brain injuries are similar but War, again, is not a Sport! Another point is the use of the 'signature wound' being TBI, while true to a certain extent in both these theaters because of the now called IED's, All Wars create the same type of unseen wounds as well as the very physical readily seen devastating wounds, amputations of limbs and instant death! None of this is new and if the Army and the Country had paid attention, whoops that costs money for the results of, the care of what many of these soldiers are facing, once again, would have been well understood long ago!
The Armies response was also posted up over at ProPublica
June 8, 2010 ProPublica and NPR reported today that the military is failing to diagnose soldiers who suffered brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. It didn't take long to get a response. Soon after learning that the stories were about to air, the Pentagon's public affairs machine began circulating talking points on traumatic brain injuries—just in case senior medical commanders weren't up to speed on what the military's been doing for troops with one of the wars' signature wounds.
The talking points, which we obtained and were sent to top Army officials, don't directly address the findings of our investigation . We found that the military's system has repeatedly overlooked soldiers with so-called mild traumatic brain injuries. These blast injuries, which some doctors call concussions, leave no visible scars but can cause lasting physical and mental harm in some cases. The Pentagon's official figures  say about 115,000 soldiers have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury since the wars began. But we found that military doctors and screening tools routinely miss soldiers who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield. Experts we interviewed and documents we obtained said the military's count may understate the true toll by tens of thousands of soldiers.
The talking points tick off a number of initiatives the military has undertaken to better diagnose and treat the soldiers. But as we note in our stories, the problem is not the lack of initiatives, it's that nine years into the war, nobody at the Pentagon knows how big the problem is, nor how best to treat it. You can find the complete talking points memos and PowerPoint. Continued
Sgt. Victor Medina, a decorated combat veteran who fought to receive treatment at Texas' Fort Bliss after suffering a brain injury during a roadside blast in Iraq last June. Since the explosion, Medina has had trouble reading, comprehending and doing simple tasks. "It's struggle after struggle."
The spin, as it was before and even before that................., is apparently these soldiers, like Sgt. Medina are faking!!!
On All Things Considered 8 June 2010.
At this rapidly expanding base along the U.S.-Mexico border, the military is racing to build new homes for 10,000 additional soldiers. Cranes stack prefabricated containers like children's blocks to erect barracks overnight. Bulldozers grind sagebrush desert into roads and runways.
Just down the street from the construction boom squats a tan, featureless building about the size of a convenience store. Completed nearly a year ago, it remains unopened, the doors locked.
Building 805 was supposed to house a clinic for traumatic brain injury, often called the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, it has become a symbol for soldiers here of what they call commanders' indifference to their problems.
"The system here has no mercy," said Sgt. Victor Medina, a decorated combat veteran who fought to receive treatment at Fort Bliss after suffering a brain injury during a roadside blast in Iraq last June. Since the explosion, Medina has had trouble reading, comprehending and doing simple tasks. "It's struggle after struggle." Continued