Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Posts Tagged ‘Contractor’

Dwight Pruitt Contractor Back in Wichita After Fall From Helicopter

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on January 18, 2011

By Deb Gruver at The Wichita Eagle

Dwight Pruitt doesn’t remember anything about the day he fell 15 feet off a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq, crushing his skull and breaking his body.

But if he could, he’d realize what a long journey he took to Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital in Wichita.

The sheet metal mechanic originally from Riverdale, north of Wellington, had been working as a military contractor for six years when he fell. He’d survived mortar attacks at Joint Base Balad, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, and the landscape of war.

What nearly ended his life was a simple fall that could have happened anywhere.

Pruitt, 65, worked on Black Hawks repairing cracks. He fell off one Dec. 13 or 14 —he’s not sure exactly when.

He knows that he landed on his head on concrete.

“It didn’t flex much when I hit it,” he joked about the concrete.

He knows that he was flown to Afghanistan, where doctors relieved swelling on his brain. Then, he woke up in Germany. He couldn’t talk. His first communication was squeezing a doctor’s hand and wiggling his toes.

“They treated me like I was solid gold,” he said of the doctors at the military hospital.

Meanwhile, a medical team at Via Christi worked to get Pruitt home.

The logistics, wrote Via Christi dispatcher Becky Garwood in an e-mail, involved several communications between Via Christi doctors and Pruitt’s doctors in Germany, a transfer nurse coordinator in Canada and Via Christi’s nursing and bed placement staff, and a Canadian flight service dispatcher and flight service and customs workers at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. Pruitt’s flight stopped in Iceland and Ontario.

A transport team from Via Christi met him at Mid-Continent when he landed in Wichita.

“This was in every way an international effort, involving a hospital in Germany and a flight service from Canada,” Garwood said. “It was complicated by weather delays and a very long overnight flight originating in Saarbrucken, Germany.” Pruitt arrived at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis on Dec. 23 and then was admitted to the rehabilitation hospital on North Rock Road on Dec. 28.  Please read the entire story here

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Injured Contractors, Interviews with Injured War Zone Contractors, Iraq | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractor Killed in Insurgent Attack in Afghanistan Bryan Keith Farr

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 21, 2010

Contractor Bryan Keith Farr shot and killed in Afghanistan

Details forthcoming.

He was 22 yrs. old and went to work there because of the lack of employment here in the US. I’m deeply saddend for not just all of us that loved him but for everyone!! I spoke with him alot while he was there just as recently as 1 week ago. He called to tell me he would be home soon and he better see me !! He will be missed greatly

WE LOVE U Bryan Farr R.I.P.

http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/18/images-from-the-scene-of-the-afghan-suicide-attack/

Posted in Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

It’s the Friday Fest Question of the week from our readership Who is the Worst ALJ?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on February 12, 2010

So, Who, in your humble opinions,  is the worst ALJ?

Posted in Department of Labor, Misjudgements | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Obama to Announce Increase of Troops for Afghanistan on Dec 1

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 24, 2009

With the associated increases of one contractor to one soldier

What a windfall for AIG and CNA

From the Huffington Post

President Barack Obama is expected to announce a “sizable” increase in US troop levels in Afghanistan early next week, tentatively during a prime-time speech on Tuesday, December 1, according to media reports.

Obama met with his war council on Monday evening to decide how many troops to send in addition to the 68,000 already deployed. According to the Associated Press, “Military officials and others said they expect Obama to settle on a middle-ground option that would deploy an eventual 32,000 to 35,000 U.S. forces to the 8-year-old conflict.” McClatchy is reporting that Obama plans to send 34,000. General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in the region, had been pressing for 40,000.

After Obama’s announcement next Tuesday, General McChrystal, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, are expected to testify on Capitol Hill.

The president had been reluctant to make a decision without an exit strategy, a theme echoed today by Robert Gibbs. The White House press secretary told reporters that it’s “not just how we get people there, but what’s the strategy for getting them out.”

Below, an official White House photo by Pete Souza of President Obama meeting last night with his national security team to discuss Afghanistan in the Situation Room.

 

Posted in AIG and CNA | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractors in Iraq to be Subject to American Laws

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 19, 2009

Under American law, the Defense Base Act, they’ll still be allowed to kill, maim, or allow their employees to be raped, just not anyone else.

Courthouse News Service

by Nick Wilson

WASHINGTON (CN) – Senators introduced legislation Wednesday that would bring foreign military contractors under the jurisdiction of American laws following an appeal from the parents of a soldier allegedly killed by a contractor in Iraq.
In introducing the legislation, Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight Chair Claire McCaskill from Missouri told the story of Lt. Col. Dominic Baragona who was allegedly killed when a contractor’s truck slammed into him in 2003. The man’s parents spent years appealing to the Defense Department, the Bush administration and the Army to seek accountability and information regarding their son’s death.
The family sued Kuwait & Gulf Link Transport Company (KGL), the contracting company, in 2006. McCaskill said the contracting firm did not show up before the court until after the family won a $4.9 million judgment. The contractor then argued that the government does not have jurisdiction over it and the court vacated the judgment.
“The need for Congress to act with this legislation has raised serious questions for me about the systematic failures that have allowed companies like KGL to escape accountability for their actions,” McCaskill said.
The subcommittee also released a report showing that federal agencies rarely dismiss abusive contractors.
The investigation revealed that over the last five years, the Defense Department Office of Inspector General reported 2,700 convictions, but the Defense Department only debarred 708 contractors.
The Department of Homeland Security did not debar any contractors in 2006, despite widespread reports of waste, fraud and abuse following Hurricane Katrina.
The “Lieutenant General Dominic ‘Rocky’ Baragona Justice for American Heroes Harmed by Contractors Act” would require foreign companies that enter into contracts with the United States to consent to personal jurisdiction in cases involving serious injury, death or rape.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

US Soldier in Iraq Arrested in Contractor Killing

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 13, 2009

Another case of a  good soldier with a “stress disorder” who finally has a melt down?

Lucas Trent Vinson Update

Update

KBR Employee 27 year old Lucas Vinson shot

BAGHDAD — A civilian contractor was shot and killed Sunday on an American military base in the Iraqi city of Tikrit and a U.S. soldier has been detained in connection with the incident, the military said.

The contractor was shot at 8:30 a.m. at Camp Speicher, the military said in a statement.

Houston-based KBR confirmed in a short statement that the man killed was one of its employees, 27-year-old Lucas Vinson.

Original story

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier in Iraq was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of shooting dead a civilian contractor on the U.S. military’s Camp Speicher, its main base in northern Iraq, a U.S. military spokesman said.

The shooting took place on Sunday at around 0530 GMT, U.S. military spokesman for north Iraq Derrick Cheng said.

“A U.S. Soldier has been identified and detained in the alleged shooting incident of a civilian contractor here on … Speicher,” he said. “The civilian contractor later died of wounds. We offer our sincere condolences to the family.”

Speicher is on the outskirts of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, 150 km north of Baghdad. Cheng did not give further details of the shooting, which he said was under investigation.

In May, a U.S. soldier shot dead five fellow soldiers at a military clinic in Baghdad, an incident that triggered some soul searching in the U.S. military about the effects of stress on troops who do serial deployments.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Respect

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 29, 2009

This is a little OT again but should interest everyone Ollieenough to cross post from Civilian Contractors

Regret the ring wing left wing language as we try to avoid that here

Colonels’ Corner by Ollie North

Bagram, Afghanistan —  It is amazing how a change of geography can alter perception. In the weeks leading up to this, my 16th FOX News deployment to cover the fight against radical Islamic terror, the news was full of attacks on civilian contractors. The target: Those who have been providing support for U.S. military and intelligence operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Contractor” is the new dirty word in the so-called mainstream media and in Washington. On Capitol Hill, contractors are the Rodney Dangerfields of the war – they just don’t “get no respect.” Here, where the war is being fought, contractors are regarded as essential to victory.

The attacks on civilian contractors didn’t begin with this summer’s hemorrhage of congressional leaks, sensational disclosures of classified information, threats of inquisitions and the appointment of a special prosecutor. Civilian contractors have been in the crosshairs of Congress since George Washington had to defend buying beans, bread, bandages and bullets from sutlers accompanying the Revolutionary Army. In the opening days of World War II, then-Senator Harry Truman became famous for threatening to “lock up” civilian contractors for producing sub-par munitions and President Dwight D. Eisenhower ominously warned against the threat of a “military-industrial complex.”

However, all that is pale by comparison to the viscera now being aimed at civilian contractors supporting the campaigns in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates and in the shadow of the Hindu Kush. Though the mainstream media and congressional critics initially ignored the essential role played by civilian security and logistics contractors in the opening months of Operation Enduring Freedom, they went into high dudgeon when the Bush administration began preparations for liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

It has gone downhill since.

Critics on the left are quick to point to events like the 2007 incident in Baghdad that led to the prosecution of security contractors for using excessive force in carrying out protective duties. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress have threatened to cut the budgets of federal agencies that use security contractors instead of government employees to protect key personnel and sensitive installations. At the Pentagon — which uses more civilian contractors in the war effort than any other U.S. government entity — the response to the criticism was capitulation.

In April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans to hire 30,000 additional Department of Defense employees to cut the percentage of work being done by contractors. The FY 2010 Defense Budget request replaces nearly 14,000 contractor personnel with government employees, even though the “lifetime cost” — counting government benefits and retirement — will more than double the expense to American taxpayers. The numbers don’t mesh, but when it comes to getting the press and politicians off the backs of Pentagon poobahs, cutting contractors loose is apparently a small price to pay.

Unfortunately, dollars may not be the only thing lost.

Last week, in the midst of the firestorm over U.S. intelligence agencies using private contractors, General Michael Hayden, CIA director from 2006-09, asked a telling question: “Who is the best individual available for this task at this moment?” With more than 30 percent of his former agency’s work being performed by contractors, the answer is obvious. He went on to note that the CIA uses contractors for their “very discreet skill sets” and “as an integral part of our workforce.”

The CIA isn’t alone. Here in Afghanistan there are more than 74,000 military contractors and the number is increasing as more U.S. and NATO troops “surge” into the theatre. Though it’s unlikely to make the lead story in any of the mainstream media, contractors are performing tasks that U.S. government entities either cannot do or that cannot be done as economically. A few non-sensational, but essential examples:

— The Afghanistan Border Police (ABP) has the mission of securing the country’s porous borders — an absolutely crucial task if the fight against the Taliban is to be won. The ABP is being recruited, screened, trained, equipped and advised by fewer than 140 private contractor personnel. To date they have deployed more than 3,600 new ABP officers.

— The Counter Narcotics Police and the Afghanistan Narcotics Interdiction Unit (NIU) are being mentored, trained and supported by fewer than 40 private contractors. These law enforcement units are key components in denying the Taliban and Al Qaeda revenues from opium production.

— In the 11 months since I was last in Afghanistan, private contractor aircraft have flown more than 12,000 sorties, delivering nearly 6 million pounds of cargo, 5 million pieces of U.S. mail and 59,000 personnel to installations around the country. Contractor aircraft have also air-dropped more than 640,000 pounds of urgently needed, food, water, ammunition, and medical supplies to troops on the battlefield. For last week’s presidential elections, contractor aircraft airdropped equipment and ballots to remote polling stations.

Like it or not, our modern, all-volunteer military cannot fight or even prepare to do so without civilian contractors. Propagandists for the left know it is no longer politically correct to attack young Americans in uniform, so they aim their viscera at military, logistics, security and intelligence support contractors instead.

Disparaging and de-funding civilian contractors is just one more way of disarming America, but at the end of the day, we won’t win without them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Superbugs via the military evacuation system and your DBA claim

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on August 20, 2009

FF_132_enemy5_f

Injured contractors who enter the military evacuation system either in Iraq or Afghanistan are at an extremely high risk of being contaminated with Multiple Drug Resistant or Completely Drug Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, in addition to MRSA, Klebsiella pneumonia, VRE, C diff, Psuedomonas aeruginosa, several species of Proteus, and more.  While these bugs are also available in our civilian hospitals the strains you will find in the military health system have been fast tracked to drug resistance by the overuse, misuse, of antibiotics starting at the field hospitals in often desperate attempts to save lives and limbs.

These bacterial infections sound scary enough but the toxic drugs used to treat them can be more dangerous than the bugs themselves.

Permanent organ damage or outright failure is a common.   Metabolic changes, insulin intolerance, alcohol intolerance, hearing damage, nerve damage, can all stay with you for the rest of your life.  Many patients will remain carriers of MDRAb and MRSA.

All injured contractors who were repatriated via any part of the military evacuation and/or health system should check your medical records to see if you were treated with toxic drugs for any of these bugs but most seriously Acinetobacter baumannii.   The military and the civilian hospitals are not always forthcoming with information regarding these infections. They are preventable and are spread by a lack of sterile conditions.   They do not originate in the soil in Iraq or Afghanistan, nor do the insurgents put them on IED’s as has been suggested by the DoD to CNN.  These hospital acquired infections are downplayed by all involved so you will see much information out there that paints a prettier story than we present you here.  We have no advertising money, no one owns us.

If you were blown up and went to Landstuhl you would have been put on these drugs immediately as a cautionary measure due to nearly all open wounds becoming contaminated with Acinetobacter baumannii.  If you happened to have a Traumatic Brain Injury from the explosion you were in,  your freshly compressed, damaged, brain cells were bathed in high doses of neurotoxic drugs.

Any claim you present to the insurance company should include lifelong damages caused by treatment with these toxic drugs.   Many people will remain at risk of reinfection as there is no way to know if your body has been purged of these organisms.

The Iraq Infections

Three Canadian Soldiers Sick with Superbug

The Invisible Enemy by Steve Silberman

Posted in PTSD and TBI, Toxic Exposures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

KBR and AWOL Medical Records

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on June 10, 2009

In nearly every DBA claim reported to us by a KBR employee or their widow medical records from their time in Iraq or Afganistan are not available.

 KBR has been allowed to  ignore production requests during interrogatories.

 Injured War Zone Contractors are stuck in the Administrative Law System,  so KBR faces no legal liability for failing to turn over documents.

 The contractors face waiting forever, or going forward with the case with no medical records or payroll records.

  According to our sources, our claimants, no attorney has had success in forcing production of records.

 That won’t change until the plaintiff’s attorneys get more aggressive and begin filing motions for sanctions.

 If you are an Injured Contractor and KBR or any other employer has failed to produce your medical records from your time in their employ ask your lawyer if they have filed a motion for sanctions against them.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

Suicide from PTSD not compensible?

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 15, 2009

It does not state anywhere in the LHWCA or the DBA that suicide from PTSD is not compensible.

PTSD is the injury.  The cause is exposure in the war zone.  Death is the result.

The theory that PTSD cannot be proven post mortem has clearly been blown out of the water in every other venue outside of the Department of Labor.

First AIG and CNA will try to prove that the contractor’s state of mind had nothing to do with working in the war zone.

They generally go after the claimants wife and try to show that she has somehow made this contractor so miserable that he no longer wanted to live.    Either the wife is accused of cheating on her husband, or the deceased husband is accused of cheating on his wife.   The stepchild may be accused of causing this state of mind.  These cases read like trash television, and are likely just as badly plotted.

Co workers are called on for depostions in which they state that working in the war zone is not dangerous.  In one case a coworker was sent to the families home to try to convince the wife that working in Iraq was not dangerous in 2003.  No bombs going off in Baghdad, no insurgents lying in wait for convoys to come by, no snipers, no kidnappings, no beheadings, no UN buildings being blown up, no mortar rounds landing in the green zone.  Really, it was safe.

Have we not gotten past the lies that  promoted the notion that it was safe to work in Iraq, ever?

Even if the contractor were having stressful  issues in theirs lives as so many of us do it has been proven that additional stress such as that of working in the war zones could be the trigger, the cause, that sets this injury off.

AIG, CNA, with the approval of the Department of Labor drag these claims out, drag these families throught the mud.

On top of losing their husbands and fathers, these families lose their homes, their finances, they lose everything else.

As long as they can keep a successful claim for death by PTSD out of the public record it is well worth their while to deny treatment and compensation to hundreds of other contractors injured with PTSD for five years or more.

When these injured contractors snap and kill themselves, maybe take someone else with them, they no longer have a claim to pay.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kucinich to probe AIG denial of workers’ compensation claims in Iraq and Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 7, 2009

Sabrina Eaton/Plain Dealer Washington Bureau

Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is asking American International Group to provide a subcommittee he chairs with records on its insurance claim procedures following media reports that the insurance giant inappropriately denied and delayed insurance claims from civilian contractors killed or injured in Iraq.

“Apparently, AIG is profiting both by charging unreasonably high premiums to contracting firms and denying or delaying legitimate claims of civilian workers for medical care and other services needed as a result of war zone injuries,” Kucinich says in the letter to AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy and others at the company.”These conclusions are all the more disturbing given that AIG has received enormous federal subsidies to prevent insolvency,”

Kucinich has asked AIG to provide his Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee with data on its claims processed since 2002, as well as the profits AIG has earned from premiums, expenses from paying out claims and net underwriting gains under the civilian contractor insurance program.

Original Story here

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Military Fails to Collect From AIG for Care to Injured Contractors

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 7, 2009

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica – May 7, 2009

WASHINGTON—The Pentagon has failed to bill American Insurance Group and other major insurance carriers for millions of dollars in medical care provided to private contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new federal report [1] (PDF).

The United States hired hundreds of thousands of civilians to work in the two war zones. When injured on the job, their medical care is supposed to be paid for by private insurance companies, primarily AIG.

The audit by the Pentagon’s Inspector General [1] concludes that the military frequently failed to demand reimbursement when it treated injured contractors and the increased costs burdened front-line hospitals, cutting into resources that would otherwise be used to care for injured soldiers.

In one example, the main military hospital in Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base reported that one-third of all patients treated by military doctors were civilian contractors. This created an overwhelming burden for staff dedicated to delivering emergency care to wounded soldiers, the report said.

The auditors found that no single Defense Department agency is responsible for keeping track of costs, despite regulations requiring contractors to reimburse the government when their employees are treated at military installations.

Read the entire story here

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Blind Amputee has to fight AIG for new plastic leg, Wheelchair

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 16, 2009

While Executives Get Bonuses, John Woodson Gets “Cheapest They Could Get Away With”
By AVNI PATEL and BRIAN ROSS
April 16, 2009
Story here
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=7346693&page=1
An Oklahoma man who lost an eye and a leg in Iraq says the giant insurance company AIG refused to provide him a new plastic leg and fought to keep from paying for a wheelchair or glasses for the eye in which he has 30 percent vision.
“They bought the cheapest thing that they could get away with,” said 51-year old John Woodson, a truck driver for the KBR contracting firm who lost his leg when his truck hit a roadside bomb in Iraq.

“Everything’s been a struggle, a constant fight,” said Woodson, injured in Oct. 2004. “It’s been hell since.”
Woodson is covered by AIG under a government-mandated program that provides medical and disability benefits for employees working for U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. AIG covers about 90 percent of the claims for overseas workers.

Still in constant pain, Woodson says he was infuriated to see AIG executives receive huge bonuses, travel on private jets and be pampered at a California spa.

“They’re getting their bonuses but they fight you, they’ll constantly fight in order to try to get you to give up,” said Woodson, of Poteau, Oklahoma.

Woodson is one of a number of injured contractors whose alleged difficulties with AIG were examined in the joint investigation.
AIG said it could not discuss any specific case, but that it strives to provide “quality” care.
“We think we’re helping the military with out insurance program,” said AIG executive John Russo.

In Woodson’s case, when his fuel truck hit the hidden bomb outside Baghdad, he was blown through the roof of his cab and thrown about a hundred feet away, also damaging his back and breaking his pelvis.

Woodson says he was told by an AIG representative in the hospital that he would be fully covered by AIG, but that when he returned home, he quickly discovered AIG was prepared to challenge almost all of his medical needs.

“I’ve had to argue for everything, you constantly stay on the phone, writing letters, e-mailing, trying to get things to happen,” Woodson said.

To cushion the impact on his injured back and pelvis, Woodsen asked AIG for a new plastic leg with a spring in the foot.

“It was just so painful just to walk,” Woodson said.

He says AIG refused to buy him a new leg, which he says would have cost about $8,000.

AIG also refused, he said, to provide him a water-proof leg so he could remain standing and take a shower.

U.S. military amputees are normally provided three different legs, to cover a full range of walking, showering and exercising.

In the end, Woodson says he thinks it was pressure from his lawyer and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that forced AIG to finally provide an improved leg, with replacement parts, but not a new one as his doctor had ordered.

Woodson’s lawyer, Toby Cole, says he sees a pattern of AIG “delaying and denying” claims from contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s difficult for me to think it’s anything but a concentrated effort just to ignore these guys,” said Cole.

In its statement, AIG says the “vast majority” of claims are “paid without dispute when the proper supporting medical evidence has been received.”

More than 30,000 contractors have filed claims for injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 1,400 have died

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: