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"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Friday, November 23, 2007

20,000 vets' brain injuries not listed in Pentagon tally

20,000 vets' brain injuries not listed in Pentagon tally

least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during
combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain
injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA

The data, provided by the Army, Navy
and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many
troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the
Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the
Pentagon's official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.

number of brain-injury cases were tabulated from records kept by the VA
and four military bases that house units that have served multiple
combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

base released its count of brain injuries at a medical conference. The
others provided their records at the request of USA TODAY, in some
cases only after a Freedom of Information Act filing was submitted.

The data came from:

Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center in Germany, where troops
evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan for injury, illness or wounds are
brought before going home. Since May 2006, more than 2,300 soldiers
screened positive for brain injury, hospital spokeswoman Marie Shaw

• Fort Hood, Texas, home of the 4th
Infantry Division, which returned from a second Iraq combat tour late
last year. At least 2,700 soldiers suffered a combat brain injury, Lt.
Col. Steve Stover says.

• Fort Carson, Colo.,
where more than 2,100 soldiers screened were found to have suffered a
brain injury, according to remarks by Army Col. Heidi Terrio before a
brain injury association seminar.

• Marine
Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where 1,737 Marines were found to have
suffered a brain injury, according to Navy Cmdr. Martin Holland, a
neurosurgeon with the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

VA hospitals, where Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been screened
for combat brain injuries since April. The VA found about 20% of 61,285
surveyed — or 11,804 veterans — with signs of brain injury, spokeswoman
Alison Aikele says. VA doctors say more evaluation is necessary before
a true diagnosis of brain injury can be confirmed in all these cases,
Aikele says.

Soldiers and Marines whose
wounds were discovered after they left Iraq are not added to the
official casualty list, says Army Col. Robert Labutta, a neurologist
and brain injury consultant for the Pentagon.

"We are working to do a better job of reflecting accurate data in the official casualty table," Labutta says.

Most of the new cases involve mild or moderate brain injuries, commonly from exposure to blasts.

than 150,000 troops may have suffered head injuries in combat, says
Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., founder of the Congressional Brain Injury
Task Force.

"I am wary that the number of brain-injured troops far exceeds the total number reported injured," he says.

About 1.5 million troops have served in Iraq, where traumatic brain injury can occur despite heavy body armor worn by troops.

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