Prosthetics for Injured War Zone Contractors?? Don’t get your hopes up…..
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 7, 2011
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.
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.”