I heard a story yesterday morning on NPR examining the practice of Army generals awarding Purple Hearts to soldiers who received traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as a result of enemy combat (this specifically mentioned concussions). It appears some are being correctly awarded but some are not. That inconsistency seems to be the issue which the whole of the Armed Forces is addressing by pushing forward new, not-yet-approved guidelines.
Tricky part is handling the education behind TBI and what’s considered an injury and what isn’t. Or if an injury has no outward physical sign, is realized later on, etc… I imagine it’s hard to medically diagnose a concussion in the middle of the firefight.
I found a good wrap up of the situation here at ArmyTimes.com. There’s also a possibility of Purple Hearts being awarded retroactively. As a grandson of a WWII vet who was awarded the Purple Heart, I’d personally like to see the military take this important step.
We’ve done a few workshops on this including TBI & our Wounded Warriors series which address the “hidden injuries” sustained during combat. It’s important to keep these discussions ongoing so please let us know your thoughts (here or on Facebook) and let’s bring the health care perspective of this to the table.
TBI is one of those topics that is truly multi-disciplinary involving every health care professional in every area of an individual’s life. Your thoughts?
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