Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Prosthetics for Injured War Zone Contractors?? Don’t get your hopes up…..

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 7, 2011

Contractors covered by CNA and others under the Defense Base Act must fight for years to acquire prosthetics, orthotic devices, artificial eyes, and sometimes never receive them at all.

The Department of Labor enables this negligence, often delaying informal hearings and/or siding with the insurance company attorneys causing delays of years on end.  Precious recovery time is lost.

The following article details the importance of getting amputees the proper prosthetics and on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

Prosthetics helping soldiers return to active lifestyle

FORT DRUM — Spc. Matthew R. Hayes stood frozen, not sure which way to move. With one soldier already lying on the ground injured, Spc. Hayes and other 10th Mountain Division soldiers now realized that the Afghan hill they had just climbed was riddled with an unknown number of nearly undetectable plastic land mines.

So the soldiers decided that the only way to avoid another casualty was to carefully retrace their steps to safety.

But Spc. Hayes didn’t know he was already standing on a land mine.

“I shifted to step off and it exploded,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on — just a little confusion … dazed — I couldn’t do anything.”

He fell back on his shoulders. He didn’t feel pain — just a strong pressure on his right leg.

“I looked down and I just saw my foot shredded,” he said.

He quickly reached for his tourniquet to tie his leg tight and stop the bleeding. He began feeling weak, and yelled, “Medic!”

His mind raced ahead as to what might happen.

“I figured I’d lose it,” the 22-year-old soldier said.

He was right.

Within hours of that explosion last September, Spc. Hayes’ leg was amputated below his knee, adding his name to the list of almost 900 soldiers nationally who have had a major limb amputation as a result of explosions in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to an Army Medical Command spokeswoman. More than half of the 10th Mountain Division’s 278 soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan have died as the result of improvised explosive devices and anti-tank mines.

Yet within months of that explosion, Spc. Hayes was taking his first steps with help of a prosthetic leg.

“It felt great,” he said. “It was weird trying to remember how to walk, I guess, not being able to use an ankle.”

Each similar success story can be credited to the advanced prosthetics technology that the U.S. government is investing in. Last year, for instance, Clarkson University, Potsdam, received a $1.4 million grant from the Army to develop a prosthetic leg that uses sensors that respond to the remaining leg muscles.

Roger R. Howard, of Howard Orthotics and Prosthetics in Watertown, said working with highly active soldiers wanting to maintain their lifestyles is a challenge he enjoys. His civilian customers are benefiting as well.

“Any time there’s a war, the government puts a lot of money into research and development,” he said, “and as a result of that we have manufacturers coming out with newer systems at a much faster pace than ever. The computers are getting better, and the hardware is getting … lighter.”

Please read the entire article here

One Response to “Prosthetics for Injured War Zone Contractors?? Don’t get your hopes up…..”

  1. The following quotes from WFAA- TV proves CNA is destroying lives in Workers Comp too !!!!

    “An on-the-job car wreck in 1992 totaled the livelihood and mobility of a man who depends on the companionship of his two parrots and daily doses of morphine and other medications to survive.

    “I herniated three cervical discs; I have nerve damage in C4 through C7,” Dana Sallee said “I have nerve damage in the lumbar disc that has caused me to lose internal functioning. My intestines don’t function.”

    For eleven years, the injuries were covered by his insurance carrier, CNA. But one year ago, he received a rude holiday greeting.

    “The insurance companies had doctors write peer reviews claiming I had no injuries,” he said.

    According to the doctor’s review, Sallee “did not sustain any apparent damage or harm … as a result of the injury.”
    The doctor added that Sallee’s “medical care is not medically necessary,” and that “there are no clear indications for continued medical care.” The report concluded that “the claimant is able to work in a sedentary work capacity.”

    “It’s more than ridiculous … it’s hopeless,” Sallee said. “It’s depressing and hopeless. I can’t get any help from TWCC (Texas Worker’s Compensation Commission) … they’ve run me in circles for a year.”

    After Sallee appealed, the Worker’s Compensation Commission appointed a doctor to perform an exam and to review Sallee’s case. The result? That doctor ruled in his favor, saying, “the patient’s prescriptions are reasonable and necessary.”

    Still, the insurance carrier continues to deny his medical care. CNA officials said they can not comment specifically about Sallee’s case, and said they are acting in accordance with state law.

    However, Dr. Ron Washington said he’s seen a disturbing trend in which insurance carriers may in fact not be complying with state labor laws.

    “The peer reviewer, in my opinion, abuses his authority because he cuts off treatment,” Washington said. “They provide a statement to the carrier that future treatment is no longer reasonable.”

    (ends of quotes from WFAA story)

    Please click on my name to learn more

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