Sunday, September 22, 2013

WASHINGTON POST: American Legion Report Says DoD and VA treatment for PTSD and brain injury inadequate

A Washington Post article this week, below, highlights an important new report from the American Legion about federal government PTSD and TBI treatment efforts.  It's conclusions are critically important.  

In short, veterans with PTSD and TBI are being failed by VA and DoD, which are providing palliative treatments to adjust symptoms but failing to address the underlying conditions.  This is eerily similar to the experience of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War veterans with Gulf War Illness. 

Led by pseudo-scientists like Dr. Kelley Brix, government offices including DoD's misnamed Force Health Protection unit and VA's Office of Public Health spin science to their own interests, as testimony by top VA researcher-turned-whistleblower Dr. Steve Coughlin showed at a March 13, 2013 Congressional hearing.  

Instead of real treatment aimed at cures, hundreds of thousands of veterans of multiple wars suffer the lasting effects of their post-deployment health issues, with VA and DoD failure to develop real treatments for health conditions ranging from TBI to Gulf War Illness to burn pit exposure illnesses and more.

VA and DoD can and must do better.  The Obama Administration must be directed by Congress to clean house of people in DoD's misnamed Force Health Protection unit and VA's Office of Public Health who are most interested in shaping "research" to deny there's anything wrong, or minimize the seriousness of the post-deployment health issues than to find treatment solutions.  

Congress must defund these entities and help ensure these people never find positions of authority again.  

And we as a nation must ensure that our warriors are much better taken care of when they come home, not met with brick walls and band-aids to merely mask the awful symptoms of untreated underlying conditions.  


Full Legion report here:


SOURCE:  Washington Post (Sep. 12, 2013, Steve Vogel reporting)

DoD and VA treatment for PTSD and brain injury inadequate, Legion says

The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs provide “limited and inadequate” treatment for post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury , according to a new report issued by the American Legion.
(Photo: Robert Skidmore)
(Photo: Robert Skidmore)
The report, called “The War Within,”was based on two years of research by a Legion committee that visited military, VA and private medical facilities. It is being  distributed to members of Congress, the Obama administration and VA officials.
The Legion said in a statement Thursday that the two departments “have no well-defined approach to the treatment of TBI; providers are merely treating the symptoms.”
William Detweiler, the past national commander of the Legion who chaired the committee, said the departments have relied on traditional medical treatments for TBI and PTSD cases.
“They have not done a lot of research on alternative methods,” he said in the statement. “There’s no simple answer to what works as far as PTSD or TBI is concerned, but we found that the (DoD and VA) medical profession shied away from certain things which they considered to be alternative medicine.”
The report says the departments have not adequately researched treatments such as virtual reality therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and other alternative medicine therapies.
The report recommends that Congress provide  oversight and funding to VA and DoD for innovative TBI and PTSD research currently used in the private sector.
Steve Vogel
Steve Vogel covers the federal workforce, with an emphasis on issues involving veterans and the military. He has reported extensively on defense issues, writing the Military Matters column and covering military operations in Somalia, Rwanda, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the author of The Pentagon – A History and Through the Perilous Fight.

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