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Posts Tagged ‘Traumatic Brain Injury’

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, due to lack of Diagnoses and Early Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 21, 2012

“But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

As a civilian contractor you will be denied early treatment by the insurance company.  The liability for this further injury is with the Defense Base Act Insurance Company, CNA leading the way.  

David Woods The Huffington Post  September 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — Almost a quarter million American troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury are at risk of developing a degenerative disease that causes bursts of anger and depression and can lead to memory loss, difficulty walking and speaking, paranoia and suicide, according to military researchers.

At present, medical officials cannot diagnose or prevent the disease, called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and there is no known treatment for it, said Army Col. Dallas Hack, director of the Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program.

But researchers are hot on the trail of new procedures to detect and diagnose the disease, and there is hope that early detection of brain injury among troops exposed to blasts from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan could prevent them from falling victim to CTE.

“We don’t fully understand the incidence of CTE with the occurrence of traumatic brain injury,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Randall McCafferty, chief of neurosurgery at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. “But we may be able to learn that early treatment of the initial acute [brain] injury may avoid this cascade from brain injury to CTE.”

Please read the entire post here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Dropping the DBA Ball, KBR, Misjudgements, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PTSD, TBI, and Early Aging- War might be making young bodies old

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 6, 2012

If what they’re seeing is a form of early aging, it seems most common to those with both blast-related concussion and PTSD— about 30% of the veterans being studied in a long-term research effort.

There is even imaging evidence of diminished gray matter in high-functioning areas of the brain, changes that shouldn’t happen for decades, if at all.

by Gregg Zoroyo USA Today  September 6, 2012

Civilian Contractors are provided much less care for these conditions and normally long after the fact, if at all.

BOSTON – A litany of physical or emotional problems spill out as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans make their way, one by one, to the 11th floor of a VA hospital in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

The tragic signs of post-traumatic stress disorder or battlefield concussion are all too evident. Even more alarming for researchers is emerging evidence that these newest American combat veterans — former GIs and Marines in their 20s and 30s — appear to be growing old before their time. Scientists see early signs of heart disease and diabetes, slowed metabolisms and obesity — maladies more common to middle age or later.

“They should have been in the best shape of their lives,” says William Milberg, a Harvard Medical School professor of psychology and project co-director. “The big worry, of course, is we’re going to be taking care of them until they’re in their 70s.

What’s going to happen to them in the long run?”

Please read the entire story at USA Today

 

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Injured Contractors, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iraq war veteran, 25, shoots himself after battle with PTSD

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 27, 2012

Once every half hour in America, a veteran tries to commit suicide according to VA figures for 2011

We’ll never know how many Civilian Contractor Suicides , how many could be prevented

The Daily Mail  July 27, 2012

On a warm summer afternoon, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard.

Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

‘His eyes rolled back,’ his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide. ‘There was just nothing I could do.’

Weeks before he killed himself at the family’s home in Champion, Ohio, Michael received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs accusing him of ‘over-reporting’ the extent of his psychiatric problems.  Read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Dropping the DBA Ball, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Under fire: Wartime stress as a defense for murder

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 6, 2012

This is the price that innocent people pay when PTSD and TBI are IGNORED by the Military, the Veterans Administration  and the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies.  The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies should be found guilty of murder themselves in many instances.

“We haven’t begun to see the wave of all this.”

Should post-traumatic stress disorder be a defense for murder? Watch “War Rage on Trial” on CNN Presents, Sunday, May 6 at 8 p.m./11p.m. ET.

CNN

Less than a year after returning from combat in Iraq, Nick Horner was charged with two murders.

Altoona, Pennsylvania (CNN) — Raymond Williams had just retired and was looking forward to traveling out west with his wife and spending time with his three grandchildren. But all those plans were shattered on April 6, 2009. As Williams, 64, went to get the mail on that spring day, he was gunned down by a man he’d never met.

His wife found his body.

“She said, you know ‘Matt! Matt! Somebody shot Dad,’” recalled Williams’ son, Matt. “It didn’t register. I’m thinking, ‘OK where is he now? Did they take him to the hospital? What hospital is he in?’ And before I could even get another word out, she goes ‘And he’s dead.’”

A short time earlier, the same gunman had killed a teenager and wounded a woman at a store in the same working-class town of Altoona in central Pennsylvania.

The gunman, Nicholas Horner, was a husband, a father, and a veteran soldier who had been awarded multiple medals for his service in Iraq, including a combat action badge. Less than a year after returning from combat, Horner faced two first degree murder charges and the possibility of the death penalty.

“Not in a million years could I believe this was true because Nick would never, he could never hurt anyone,” said Horner’s mother, Karen. “I know Nick. Nick pulled the trigger, but that wasn’t Nick.”

Please read the entire story here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Deny, Hope that I die, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

War is Brain-Damaging

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 18, 2012

The Defense Base Act Insurance Companies and the Department of Labor are as negligent as the Department of Defense when it comes denying the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, and most negligently when a contractor suffers from both.

“a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop”

The New York Times Sunday Review

These vets suffer from a particular kind of brain damage that results from repeated exposure to the concussive force of improvised explosive devices — I.E.D.’s — a regular event for troops traveling the roads in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s Russian roulette,” one vet told me, “We had one guy in our company who got hit nine times before the 10th one waxed him.” An I.E.D. explosion can mean death or at least a lost arm or leg, but you don’t have to take a direct hit to feel its effects. A veteran who’d been in 26 blasts explained, “It feels like you’re whacked in the head with a shovel. When you come to, you don’t know whether you’re dead or alive.”

The news that Robert Bales, an Army staff sergeant accused of having killed 16 Afghan civilians last week, had suffered a traumatic brain injury unleashed a flurry of e-mails among those of us who have been trying to beat the drums about this widespread — and often undiagnosed — war injury. New facts about Staff Sgt. Bales are coming out daily. After we heard about the brain injury that resulted when his vehicle rolled over in an I.E.D. blast, we were told that he had lost part of his foot in a separate incident. Then we learned that the day before his rampage, he’d been standing by a buddy when that man’s leg was blown off. There are also reports of alcohol use.

People with more appropriate professional skills than mine will have to parse these facts, but from what I have learned in my work as a storyteller, this tragedy may be related to something I heard about in my interviews: a potentially lethal combination of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. When the frontal lobe — which controls emotions — is damaged, it simply can’t put on the brakes if a PTSD flashback unleashes powerful feelings. Seeing his buddy’s leg blown off may have unleashed a PTSD episode his damaged brain couldn’t stop. If alcohol was indeed part of the picture, it could have further undermined his compromised frontal lobe function

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Afghan shooting suspect’s friend had leg blown off

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 16, 2012

From the AP  March 16, 2012

Attorney John Henry Browne talks to reporters, Thursday, March 15, 2012, in Seattle. Browne will be representing the U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The soldier’s attorney, Seattle attorney John Henry Browne, told reporters Thursday that the day before the rampage, he saw his friend’s leg blown off.

Browne told The Associated Press that his client’s family provided him with details of the injury to another U.S. soldier. The details have not been independently verified.

“His leg was blown off, and my client was standing next to him,” he said Thursday.

It isn’t clear whether the incident might have helped prompt the horrific middle-of-the-night attack on civilians in two villages last Sunday. Browne said it affected all of the soldiers at the base.

The suspect had been injured twice during his three previous deployments to Iraq and didn’t want to go to Afghanistan to begin with, Browne said.

Browne declined to release his client’s name, citing concerns for the man’s family, which is under protection on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Tacoma. But he said the soldier has two young children, ages 3 and 4.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Melt Down, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PTSD diagnoses at Lewis-McChord reexamined

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 13, 2012

Thanks to MsSparky for putting this one together, your DBAComp team is busy SCREAMING WHY !!!!

YOU SICK INSURANCE COMPANIES AND YOUR DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ALONG WITH SOME DOL EMPLOYEES ARE JUST AS GUILTY AS THE MILITARY

It is home base not only of the soldier accused in this weekend’s shooting of civilian women and children in Afghanistan, but also , who was recently convicted of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

It’s also the base of Iraq War veteran , the suspect in the killing of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day. (Barnes’ body was later found in the park.) “Beltway Sniper” – executed in 2009 for killing 10 people around Washington, D.C. – was also stationed at Lewis-McChord.

(CBS/AP) – March 12, 2012 – Diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder at an Army Medical Center located at the home base of the soldier accused of fatally shooting 16 Afghan civilians has been under scrutiny by Army investigators.

The forensic psychiatry unit at had come under fire for reversing diagnoses of for nearly 300 service members during the past five years. The head of Madigan Healthcare System was recently placed on administrative leave.

The Army initiated an investigation following an Army ombudsman’s memo indicating that hospital officials were encouraging psychiatrists to limit diagnoses of PTSD in order to reduce costs.

Madigan is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., which has sent tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is home base not only of the soldier accused in this weekend’s shooting of civilian women and children in Afghanistan, but also Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, who was recently convicted of killing Afghan civilians for sport.

It’s also the base of Iraq War veteran Benjamin Colton Barnes, the suspect in the killing of a Mount Rainier National Park ranger on New Year’s Day. (Barnes’ body was later found in the park.) “Beltway Sniper” John Allen Muhammad – executed in 2009 for killing 10 people around Washington, D.C. – was also stationed at Lewis-McChord.

It is unknown what, if any, role PTSD played in the case of Sunday’s attack.

Shooting suspect is from troubled U.S. base
Afghan rampage: Suspect’s motive a big unknown
U.S. soldier held in deaths of 16 Afghans

PTSD is a condition which results from experiencing or seeing a traumatic event, such as a battlefield casualty. Symptoms can include recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, irritability and feeling distant from other people.

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

Soldiers are often diagnosed with PTSD as they move through the Army medical system. The forensic team at Madigan was charged with making a final diagnostic review of soldiers under consideration for retirement.

In 2008 the Rand Corporation had estimated that one in five veterans of fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan suffers from major depression or PTSD.

The ombudsman’s memo, as reported in The Seattle News-Tribune, quoted a Madigan Army psychiatrist telling a September 2011 meeting of medical center clinicians not to simply “rubber stamp” a soldier’s PTSD diagnosis, which could allow the service member to retire with disability and lifetime health benefits ranging between $400,000 and $1.5 million.

The psychiatrist stated that “we have to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” and warned PTSD diagnoses could lead to the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs going broke.

In February the Seattle Times reported that the head of Madigan Healthcare System, Col. Dallas Homas, was administratively removed from command less than a year after taking over.

“This is a common practice during ongoing investigations and nothing more,” Maj. Gen. Phillip Volpe, head of Western Regional Medical Command, told the Associated Press.

Madigan’s PTSD screeners were also suspended from duty as Army Medical Command investigates the reversed diagnoses.

The staff at Madigan has denied they were pressured by commanders to limit PTSD diagnoses.

Earlier this year 14 soldiers were re-evaluated after complaining that their PTSD diagnoses had been reversed by Madigan. (Six of the 14 had their PTSD diagnoses reinstated.) Last week, it was announced that an additional 285 patients had been identified as having had their PTSD diagnoses reversed at Madigan since 2007.

The soldiers will be invited to undergo new evaluations, either at Madigan or at other military facilities. (Click HERE for original article)

Posted in Afghanistan, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

US Spec Ops Serviceman, with diagnosed TBI, kills 16 in house to house village shooting

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on March 11, 2012

IGNORE THE SYMPTOMS, FAIL TO ACKNOWLEDGE,

Someone always pays, just not those responsible

Updated at 7:59 a.m. ET: KABUL, Afghanistan — The U.S. soldier who allegedly shot 16 Afghan villagers was caught on surveillance video that showed him walking up to his base and raising his arms in surrender, Afghan officials who viewed the footage said.

The video reportedly was shot from a blimp and showed the soldier walking up to his base covered in a traditional Afghan shawl. The soldier removed the shawl and put his weapon on the ground, then raised his arms in surrender, unidentified Afghan officials told Reuters and The Associated Press.


The video had been shown to investigators to help dispel a widely held belief among Afghans, including many members of parliament, that more than one soldier must have been involved because of the high death toll, the officials told journalists.

Shooting suspect was trained sniper  March12, 2012

The soldier detained for the shootings in Afghanistan was a qualified infantry sniper, a senior Department of Defense official told CNN. (See also: heightened security in Afghanistan)

The soldier was injured in a vehicle rollover while in Iraq in 2010, according to the official. The official described it as a non-combat rollover. He was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but was found fit for duty.

His family has been moved on to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for their safety, the official said.

After an Afghan soldier alerted the U.S. military at the base of the soldier’s initial departure, the U.S. military put up an aircraft to search for the missing soldier. Soon after, Afghan civilians came to the gate carrying wounded civilians, the first indication the military had of the shooting.

When the soldier turned himself over to the search party, he immediately invoked his rights not to speak. He has been moved to Kandahar and put in pre-trial confinement, a congressional source told CNN.

  March 11, 2012 10pm

“It appears he walked off post and later returned and turned himself in,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Williams, a military spokesman. The NATO force said the assailant acknowledged he had inflicted an unspecified number of casualties during the shootings, which began about 3 a.m.

The soldier’s name has not been released, but a U.S. official told ABC News he is a 38-year-old staff sergeant who is married with two children and had served three tours in Iraq This was his first tour in Afghanistan, where he has been since early December, the official said.

Separately, a senior U.S. military official confirmed that the sergeant was attached to a unit based at Lewis-McChord, located near Tacoma, and that he had been part of what is called a village-stabilization operation in Afghanistan, in which teams of Green Berets, supported by other soldiers, try to develop close ties with village elders, organize local police units and track down Taliban leaders. The official said the sergeant was not a Green Beret himself.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – A soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in cold blood while they slept is a staff sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a U.S. official has confirmed

The soldier’s name has not been released, but a U.S. official told ABC News he is a 38-year-old staff sergeant who is married with two children, and served three tours in Iraq. This was his first tour in Afghanistan, where he has been since early December, the official said

LA Times  March 11, 2012

Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — A lone American serviceman slipped away from his base in southern Afghanistan before dawn Sunday and went on a methodical house-to-house shooting spree in a nearby village, killing 16 people, nearly all of them women and children, according to Afghan officials who visited the scene.

The NATO force confirmed that the assailant was in military custody, and that he had inflicted an unspecified number of casualties during the shooting spree at about 3 a.m. Sunday. The U.S. Embassy called for calm and expressed deep condolences; the Taliban referred to the killings as an “act of genocide.”

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that the shooter was a staff sergeant and a member of the U.S. special operations forces who had been involved in training the Afghan police.

The incident, potentially the worst atrocity of the 10-year war to be deliberately carried out by a single member of the Western military, represents a stunning setback to U.S.-Afghan relations, already shaken by last month’s burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. military base north of Kabul

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Afghanistan, Follow the Money, Iraq, Melt Down, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

When Injuries to the Brain Tear at Hearts

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 6, 2012

Hat Tip to Charles Pak for this article

 

BEFORE AND AFTER Hugh and Rosemary Rawlins have put their lives back together since his 2002 brain injury, but their struggle has included her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The New York Times  January 12, 2012

At a crowded vigil on Sunday night in Tucson, Representative Gabrielle Giffords held her husband’s hand as she stepped up to the lectern to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

It had been one year since a shooting at a Tucson supermarket killed six people, injured 12 others and left her with a severe brain injury. Ms. Giffords’s appearance was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd that applauded her remarkable progress toward recovery.

The man next to her, fighting tears, offered his own remarks. “For the past year, we’ve had new realities to live with,” said her husband, the astronaut Mark E. Kelly. “The reality and pain of letting go of the past.”

Captain Kelly was speaking of the survivors of the shooting. But his words echoed the sentiments of many brain injury survivors and their spouses as they grapple with interpersonal challenges that take much longer than a year to overcome.

Until recently, there had been little evidence-based research on how to rebuild marriages after such a tragedy. Indeed, doctors frequently warn uninjured spouses that the marriage may well be over, that the personality changes that can result from brain injury may do irreparable harm to the relationship.

Please see the original and read the entire article here

Posted in PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Testing Program Fails Soldiers, Leaving Brain Injuries Undetected

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 28, 2011

A version [1] of this story was co-produced with NPR and aired on All Things Considered [2]. (Check here for local listings [3].)

by T Christian Miller and Joaquin Sapien at ProPublica and Daniel Zwerdling at NPR

About 40 uniformed soldiers take the ANAM test inside this squat rectangular building on the Fort Lewis-McChord military base near Tacoma, Wash., in early September, weeks before they deploy to Afghanistan. (Joaquin Sapien/ProPublica)

In 2007, with roadside bombs exploding across Iraq, Congress moved to improve care for soldiers who had suffered one of the war’s signature wounds, traumatic brain injury

Lawmakers passed a measure requiring the military to test soldiers’ brain function before they deployed and again when they returned. The test was supposed to ensure that soldiers received proper treatment.

Instead, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has found, the testing program has failed to deliver on its promise, offering soldiers the appearance of help, but not the reality.

Racing to satisfy Congress’ mandate, the military chose a test that wasn’t actually proven to detect TBI: the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric, or ANAM.

Four years later, more than a million troops have taken the test at a cost of more than $42 million to taxpayers, yet the military still has no reliable way to catch brain injuries. When such injuries are left undetected, it can delay healing and put soldiers at risk for further mental damage.

Based on corporate and government records, confidential documents, scores of interviews and emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, our investigation found:

  • The people who invented ANAM and stood to make money from it were involved in the military’s decision to use it, prompting questions about the impartiality of the selection process. No other tests received serious consideration. A report [4] by the Army’s top neuropsychologist circulated last year to key members of Congress labeled the selection process “nepotistic.”
  • The Pentagon’s civilian leadership has ignored years of warnings, public and private, that there was insufficient scientific evidence the ANAM can screen for or diagnose traumatic brain injury. The military’s highest-ranking medical official said the test was “fraught with problems.” Another high-ranking officer said it could yield misleading results.
  • Compounding flaws in the ANAM’s design, the military has not administered the test as recommended and has rarely used its results. The Army has so little confidence in the test that its top medical officer issued an explicit order [5] that soldiers whose scores indicated cognitive problems should not be sent for further medical evaluation.
  • Top Pentagon officials have misrepresented the cost of the test, indicating that because the Army invented the ANAM, the military could use it for free. In fact, because the military licensed its invention to outside contractors, it has paid millions of dollars to use its own technology.
  • The military has not conducted a long-promised head-to-head study to make sure the ANAM is the best available test, delaying it for years. Instead, a series of committees have given lukewarm approval to continue using the ANAM, largely to avoid losing the data gathered so far.

Several current and former military medical officials criticized the Defense Department’s embrace of a scientifically unproven tool to use on hundreds of thousands of soldiers with TBIs

Please read this article in it’s entirety at ProPublica

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, Iraq, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Another TBI, PTSD Trajedy

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2011

What is the situation with the thousands of contractors who are being denied diagnoses and treatment for TBI and PTSD?

How many further deaths and injuries have CNA, AIG, and ACE caused with their denials?

His widow is broken-hearted and believes the military deserves some blame for the accident for not treating the Sciple’s disorder.

Remarkably, those sentiments are echoed by Marine Corps investigators who examined the case and wrote an 860-page report with recommendations for top brass. The report says the corps should be more thorough in evaluating and treating post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in Marines with brain injuries.

“This investigation reveals a disturbing vulnerability in the support we provide our combat veterans suffering the invisible wounds of PTSD,” wrote Col. John P. Crook of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, in a Sept. 26, 2010 letter. “It is folly to expect a wounded mind to diagnose itself, yet our Marines still depend on an anemic system of self-diagnosis and self-reporting.

Marine claims brain trauma led to fatal DUI crash  September 23, 2011

(AP) TAMPA, Fla. — It seemed like an open-and-shut DUI manslaughter case. Officers said Scott Sciple drove the wrong way down a Tampa interstate in April of 2010 and plowed head-on into another car, killing the other driver. According to court records, Sciple’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times Florida’s legal limit.

But as the case unfolded, so did the unusual circumstances of Sciple’s life. He was a Marine captain who had earned three Purple Hearts for injuries and the Bronze Star for heroism in Afghanistan and Iraq. He had nearly died from blood loss, suffered severe head trauma and once dug a mass grave for Iraqi civilians.

It’s these mental scars of combat, his lawyer says, that are to blame for the accident. Brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder caused Sciple to blackout in a dissociative episode the night of the crash, said defense attorney John Fitzgibbons. Sciple has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney will offer an insanity defense at trial.

The other driver, Pedro Rivera, left behind a wife, two children and three stepchildren. His widow is broken-hearted and believes the military deserves some blame for the accident for not treating the Sciple’s disorder

Please read the entire story here

Posted in ACE, AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act Insurance, Dropping the DBA Ball, Injured Contractors, LHWCA Longshore Harbor Workers Compesnation Act, PTSD and TBI, Racketeering, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bombs’ hidden impact: The brain war

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 23, 2011

Sharon Weinberger at NatureNews  September 21, 2011

Wartime explosions may be creating an epidemic of brain damage — and a major challenge for scientists.

an increasing body of evidence suggests that the repeated concussions have left them with an invisible, subcellular-level form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that not only impairs their day-to-day functioning, but also increases their long-term risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases

To Burt, the blasts he experienced in Afghanistan eventually became a kind of music. The detonation of C4 and other such military-grade explosives felt like extremely high notes — painful, yet over quickly. But blasts from bombs made out of fertilizer — a favourite of Afghan insurgents — were like standing next to a speaker at a rock concert: the dull bass thuds didn’t necessarily hurt, but they would reverberate through his body like a wave, and stay with him for a long time afterwards.

They’re with him still. Burt, who asks that his real name not be used, spent four months as a tactical adviser to a US military bomb-disposal unit in Afghanistan, during which he was within 50 metres of a detonating improvised explosive device (IED) more than 18 times. His sleeping problems began even before he left. So did the headaches, the ringing in his ears and the nausea. He started to forget things — a problem that got even worse after he returned home. Burt would find himself in a room in his house and wonder why he was there. One time, he told his wife they should try a new restaurant in town. She replied that they had eaten there with friends just a few days before

As recently as two years ago, this constellation of symptoms might have been diagnosed as a classic case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological condition that can be caused by the constant stress of being in combat. But Burt, now on medical leave, blames those low notes. He is convinced that the body-shaking blasts did something to his brain. And many doctors, medical researchers and military officials have come to believe he is right.

The visible toll of insurgent-made IEDs has been awful enough. In the ten years since military operations began in Afghanistan and then Iraq, IEDs have killed more than 3,000 US and allied troops, and wounded roughly ten times that number. But many more troops have been exposed to multiple blasts and not suffered any visible physical injuries. Like Burt, they often report an array of symptoms, ranging from sleep disturbance to problems concentrating. And an increasing body of evidence suggests that the repeated concussions have left them with an invisible, subcellular-level form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that not only impairs their day-to-day functioning, but also increases their long-term risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.

Please read the entire report here

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Army Suicide Rate Hits New High

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 12, 2011

It’s the drinking duck. In their mind they really don’t believe these injuries are as serious as the injuries that they can see

Mark Thompson  Battleland at Time

Just when you’re thinking the Army may have turned the corner on its troops killing themselves, a new number surfaces that dashes those hopes. Friday afternoon the Army said it suffered a record 32 suspected suicides in July, the most since it began releasing monthly data two years ago.

The Army is waging war on suicide just as seriously as it has been fighting for nearly a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq. Commanders are immensely frustrated by their inability to drive down the rate, which is demoralizing and depressing to the troops, their families, and the nation. President Obama has even gotten involved, deciding last month that he would send condolence letters to the families of those service personnel who had killed themselves in combat zones.

Last month’s total — averaging more than one suicide a day — included 22 active-duty troops and 10 reservists. It eclipsed the prior record of 31 set in June 2010. “While the high number of potential suicides in July is discouraging,” said General Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, “we are confident our efforts aimed at increasing individuals’ resiliency, while reducing incidence of at-risk and high-risk behavior across the force, are having a positive impact.”

Chiarelli, the service’s top suicide fighter, recently discussed the challenge over breakfast with reporters. “The hardest part about this is breaking down the stigma. I’m not going to kid myself. As hard as I try, and I brief every brigade combat team going out, both in the National Guard and in the active component. I brief the leadership in an hour-long VTC [video-teleconference] and I explain to them what is traumatic brain injury, what is post traumatic stress,” he said of the key contributors to suicide. “As hard as I try and as much as sometimes from about 20% of the audience I get the drinking duck, and I see the head going up and down but I know it’s exactly that. It’s the drinking duck. In their mind they really don’t believe these injuries are as serious as the injuries that they can see.

Please read the original here

Posted in Melt Down, PTSD and TBI, Suicide | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dementia Risk Linked to Combat Head Injury, Study Says

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 18, 2011

Defense Base Act Insurance Companies CNA and AIG  have been extremely negligent in denying Contractors injured in bomb blasts diagnoses and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Diagnoses and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury delayed and denied results in irretrievable life long damage.

Bloomberg  July 18, 2011

Head injuries may more than double the risk of dementia in military veterans, a study found.

The dementia risk was 15.3 percent among U.S. veterans who had sustained a traumatic brain injury, compared with 6.8 percent for those who didn’t suffer head trauma, over a seven-year period. The risk was significant for all forms of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, according to researchers, who reviewed medical records of 281,540 veterans ages 55 and older.

The findings, to be presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris today, highlight another potential hazard of war. Traumatic brain injury is a“signature wound” of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, accounting for 22 percent of casualties overall and 59 percent of blast-related injuries, said Kristine Yaffe, director of the Memory Disorders Program at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the research.

“This issue is important because TBI is very common,”Yaffe said in a statement. “The data suggest that TBI in older veterans may predispose them toward development of symptomatic dementia. And they raise concern about the potential long-term consequences of TBI in younger veterans.”

‘Pretty Conclusive’

“It’s pretty conclusive that there is an association between serious head injury and dementia,” Thies said in an interview. “What we can anticipate is that in all those soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, 20 years from now we are going to see a big increase in the amount of Alzheimer’s that’s going to develop.”

Please read the entire article at Bloomberg

Posted in AIG and CNA, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Delay, Department of Labor, Dropping the DBA Ball, Hope that I die, PTSD and TBI | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gov’t Watchdog Criticizes Pentagon Center for PTSD, Brain Injuries

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on July 11, 2011

By T Christian Miller and Joaquim Sapien at ProPublica  July 11, 2011

If you want more explanation about the military’s troubles in treating troops with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress, read no further than two recent but largely unnoticed reports from the Government Accountability Office.

It turns out the Pentagon’s solution to the problems is an organization plagued by weak leadership, uncertain priorities and a money trail so tangled that even the GAO’s investigators couldn’t sort it out. The GAO findings on the Pentagon’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCOE) echo our own series [1] on the military’s difficulty in handling the so-called invisible wounds of war.

“We have an organization that exists, but we have considerable concern about what it is that it’s actually accomplishing,” said Denise Fantone, a GAO director who supervised research on one of the reports. She added: “I can’t say with any certainty that I know what DCOE does, and I think that’s a concern.”

First, some background. After the 2007 scandal over poor care delivered to soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Congress ordered the Pentagon to do a better job treating soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The Pentagon’s answer was to create DCOE [2]. The new organization was supposed to be a clearinghouse to foster cutting-edge research in treatments.

DCOE was rushed into existence in late 2007. Since then, it has churned through three leaders, including one let go after alleged sexual harassment of subordinates [3]. It takes more than five months to hire each employee because of the federal government’s glacial process. As a result, private contractors make up much of the center’s staff.

“DCOE’s development has been challenged by a mission that lacks clarity and by time-consuming hiring processes,” according to the first report in the GAO series [4], focusing on “management weakness” at DCOE.

Just as concerning, the GAO says that it can’t quite figure out how much money DCOE has received or where it has all gone. DCOE has never submitted a budget document that fully conformed to typical federal standards, according to a GAO report released last month [5]. In one year, the center simply turned in a spreadsheet without detailed explanations

Please read the entire article at ProPublica

Posted in Department of Defense, Political Watch, PTSD and TBI, T Christian Miller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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