Pentagon Health Plan Won’t Cover Brain-Damage Therapy for Troops

Brain Injury

T. Christian Miller and Daniel Zwerdling: Traumatic brain injury is considered the “signature wound” of soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Official military statistics show that more than 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries since the wars began. Shock waves from roadside bombs can ripple through soldiers’ brains, causing damage that sometimes leaves no visible scars but may cause lasting mental and physical harm.

This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan

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T. Christian Miller: More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields.

Soldiers With Brain Trauma Denied Purple Hearts

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T. Christian Miller: Army commanders have routinely denied Purple Hearts to soldiers who have sustained concussions in Iraq, despite regulations that make such wounds eligible for the medal.

Top Officer Says Military Takes Brain Injuries ‘Extremely Seriously’

Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli briefs the media on Nov. 17, 2009, at the Pentagon. On Wednesday, he defended the military's care of soldiers suffering from brain injuries. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

T. Christian Miller: Officially, military figures show that about 115,000 soldiers have suffered mild traumatic brain injury since 2002. But we talked to military doctors and reviewed unpublished studies that suggest far more soldiers could have sustained such wounds. While most recovery quickly, estimates suggest that between 5 percent to 15 percent go on to develop cognitive problems.

Defense Department Ignores Civilian Contractor Toll in Iraq and Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman walks past a vehicle that had carried U.S. civilian contractors, after it was targeted by a suicide bomber in the Logar province. (Farzana Wahidy/AFP/Getty Images/January 2007 file photo)

What it all means is that nine years after the launch of the most contractor-intensive war in U.S. history, nobody is sure how many contractors there are, what they are doing, or how many have been killed or wounded.

Contractors in Iraq Are Hidden Casualties of War

Mother Dorothy Turpen (left) and caregiver Bev Glasgow sit next to Reggie Lane during a memorial service for his wife, Linda, in July 2009. Linda had been hospitalized after suffering respiratory distress. Under the shade of scrub oak and aspen, Reggie watched as Linda’s family and friends sang 'Amazing Grace' and looked at old photos of the couple. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“These guys are like the Vietnam vets of this generation,” said Lee Frederiksen, a psychologist who worked for Mission Critical Psychological Services. “The normal support that you would get if you were injured in the line of duty as a police officer or if you were injured in the military . . . just doesn’t exist.”

Foreign Workers for U.S. Are Casualties Twice Over

Rey Torres was killed in an ambush by Iraqi insurgents leaving behind his wife, Gorgonia Torres, right, and their children. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica Rey Torres dreamed of a better life for his wife and five children when he left a neighborhood of wooden shacks and burning trash piles to drive a bus on a U.S. military base near Baghdad. He hoped to send his children to college and build a new home with [...]

Military Fails to Collect from AIG for Care to Injured Contractors

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by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica 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. The United States has hired hundreds of thousands of civilians to work in the [...]

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers

Contractor Tim Newman, left; contractor Kevin Smith-Idol, middle; widow Rita Richardson, whose husband was killed by a roadside blast in Iraq. (Photos courtesy of Tim Newman, ABC News, Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Doug Smith, the Los Angeles Times Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling and other services. The insurance companies responsible for their treatment under taxpayer-funded [...]

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