Combat troop ailments drive medical backlog
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 2, 2012
Tens of thousands of combat troops who undergo routine health checks before returning home need treatment for ailments ranging from bad backs to mental illness, helping to drive a backlog of troops waiting for medical retirements, new Pentagon data show
“When you look at the numbers, about a third — one in three soldiers — are being told, ‘I think you need some medical attention.’
Last year, doctors referred 74,813 returning soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen for treatment of issues such as strained muscles, mental health and mild concussions following health screenings done as they left war zones, data show.
Of those, 14,226 troops had conditions that required treatment within 24 hours, the Pentagon says. The rate of such emergency issues was highest in the Army, going from 6% of returning GIs in 2009 to 8% in 2011.
“These are people coming back from theater not on a Medevac, not because they’ve been wounded, (but) just coming back with their units,” said physician Michael Kilpatrick, a Pentagon health official. “When you look at the numbers, about a third — one in three soldiers — are being told, ‘I think you need some medical attention.’ ”