Friday, November 23, 2007

Underreported TBI

USA Today revealed figures today giving the lie to the Pentagon's underreporting of injured military personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq (Combat Brain Injuries Multiply.)

"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."

Rep. Bill Pascarell (D-NJ) puts the figures much higher than USA Today's figures of 20,500+. Pascarell, founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, says more than 150,000 troops may have suffered head injuries in combat.

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

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the signature injury of this war, where troops suffer concussive brain damage due to exposure to IED blasts. While the troop may suffer no obvious visible trauma, the damage has been done and often will not manifest until some time following the injury. It has been suggested that many of these injuries may prove to be every bit as debilitating as a severe body wound, with a longevity which is unknown.

Yet due to the marvelous accounting legerdemain that emanates from the Pentagon,

"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."

So not only are these soldiers not counted in the official wounded list, they will have a fight ahead to prove their injuries were legitimately sustained in the field. And the taxpayers are given an inaccurate estimate of the actual cost of the war once again, in terms of long-range care and disability payments for these excluded injured troops.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shudder to think what they face trying to prove they have service connected injuries, since even things like shrapnel wounds have been called "not service connected" even when the men involved had catastrophic injuries that were allowed as having occurred in war. They make the guys fight for every thing....so if these TBIs are not on the record, they will say no every time.
Bean counting being more important that the troops we are all supposed to support.

Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 3:01:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i refuse to be surprised that our "ceo" president was enamoured of the enron style accounting tricks he learned from his good buddy "kenny boy" lay (the single largest contributer to the first bush campaign and frequent house guest of governor bush).

technically telling the truth while communicating a falsehood is a virtue with these guys. of course, some of this was already happening in vietnam. i was in the hospital in cam rahn bay, listed as "sick." what made me sick was an infection from a wound. they forgot to mention that part. so i was listed as "non-combat" casualty and their numbers for the time period were one tick better. sweet victory.

Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 11:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


This is oral history and there's no way to prove it, but I believe that the soldiers which were whisked off to Camp Zama with serous wounds, were not counted as theatre-killed casualties when they expired. I believe they do the same thing with the people that expire at Landstuhl; if they die on the ground, they are counted as KIA, but not if they die out of country. Just my belief, mind.

There is a more insidious side to your incident in the hospital: If a soldier serves 20 years, experiences like yours in the medevac hospital would not be used to verify his combat-related Special Compensation claims. Of course, this was not the case in the 1960's, as we didn't have CRSC.

In my case, my hospital records from the 24th evac hospital never made it to my permanent health records, therefore the CRSC board will not accept these injuries as combat-related. And in this matter, I am not the Lone Ranger. Service connection and combat-related are different concepts, and even VA record won't help. Classic Catch-22.

Congress passes CRSC to honor our combat service, yet the Army puts severe restrictions on the awarding of those monies. The Navy, on the other hand, is more liberal in the application of CRSC standards. A retired Navy friend has show me their written guidelines, placing the Navy as the ultimate authority in determining combat-relatedness. this is in oopostion to the Army,. who passes off determination to the DVA.

Once again, a thanks from a grateful nation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 4:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


The DVA and the military lack ombudsman.

Even while you're on active duty, the IG is not a serious help in fighting the medical Physical Evaluation Boards. Once the soldiers outlive their usefulness, they are expendable.

The Army definition of an expendable item is that it loses its identity through use. This describes a used up soldier perfectly. Keep up your good advocacy. (It's nice to hear from you when you're not in a snarly mood. I must be a good influence.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 4:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know for certain, Jim...but the DOD death notices I get in email often list people dying in places like Landstuhl Army Hospital, or the big Med Center at San Antonio (or even here in Seattle) as having died "supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom"...so at least a goodly number of those who die out of Iraq are being counted. Suicides, of course, after the fact of leaving service, are not.

Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 6:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's nice to hear from you when you're not in a snarly mood. I must be a good influence.)"

LOL...could be, could be. But I am feeling much better---oxygen helps. It seems that w/o my noticing I had slipped into a sort of asthmatic state of being barely oxygenated...my face was turning gray before I noticed. Situation remedied, my good cheer returnth!

Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 7:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Glad to hear the color has returned to your cheeks.

Monday, November 26, 2007 at 9:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Thanks for the further input on the death statistics; still, it doesn't allay my paranoia that all deaths are being tallied correctly.

Monday, November 26, 2007 at 9:02:00 PM GMT-5  

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