Family Members of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Victims Call for Privatized Treatment!
By Gerri Elder
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Specifically, nearly 3,000 veterans of these wars have been diagnosed with TBI, a complex brain injury with symptoms ranging from moderate depression, anger and confusion to permanent and full cognitive damage.
With traumatic brain injuries becoming a major issue in the wake of these wars, many legislators had been proposing legislation to improve TBI treatment.
With that said, now comes news that family members of war veterans with TBI are fighting for better medical care for their loved ones. A recent story in The Boston Globe detailed the case of US Army Private Vincent Mannion, a 19-year-old who was serving in Tikrit, Iraq back in March.
On March 11th, Mannion sustained shrapnel wounds to his arm and torso when a booby trap underneath a steel gate detonated two large mortar shells. While Mannion survived, the blast sent shockwaves through his brain and severely damaged his cerebral lobes.
With Mannion's unfortunate case detailed, his family has called for better treatment of TBI. In simple terms, Mannion's family has said that Department of Veterans Affairs' facilities are not equipped to treat TBI and do not have the resources-in both manpower and technology-to do so.
After much lobbying, Mannion's family has successfully been able to win Vincent's approval of medical care at Boston's private Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Mannion's mother Maura said in the story that her son fought valiantly for his country, and it's now time for her to fight for the best medical care that he can receive.
Mannion's family is not alone in calling for better treatment for TBI victims. The Boston Globe story detailed various family members of TBI victims and even medical professionals saying that VA facilities are understaffed to deal with the complexities of this injury. The story detailed a disturbing scenario in which one TBI victim was left sitting in his own feces for hours at a VA facility.
These advocates for better TBI treatment also said in the story that VA facilities are more equipped to treat victims of past wars like Vietnam and frankly lack the medical equipment needed to monitor this injury. These supporters also wondered in the story why TBI victims are not getting the best medical care from the best medical professionals in the country.
The story also painted an interesting picture of the military and VA bureaucracy trying to avoid privatized care for TBI victims because of a fear of medical costs and also having pride in their own facilities.
Ultimately, the story shed an interesting light on the complexities that surround TBI, from understanding more about the injury itself to satisfying the need for better treatment of TBI throughout the country.