JT (draperyfalls) wrote in ontd_political,
JT
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With Traumatic Brain Injuries, Soldiers Face Battle For Care



At the rapidly expanding base in Fort Bliss, Texas, 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."

Previously, NPR and ProPublica reported that the military has failed to diagnose brain injuries in troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mild traumatic brain injuries, which doctors also call concussions, do not leave visible scars but can cause lasting mental and physical problems.

At Fort Bliss, we found that even soldiers who are diagnosed with such injuries often do not receive the treatment they need.

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Tags: afghanistan, health, iraq, war
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