Showing posts with label TBI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TBI. Show all posts

Friday, October 1, 2021

TBI shouldn't be invisible anymore in any of us

Concussion Linked to Depression, Anxiety and PTSD, Studies Show

Story by Claudia Sanchez-Bustamante
Military Health System
September 28, 2021

Recent research shows mounting evidence of a link between mild traumatic brain injury and mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

For the first time, a study [] of post-mortem brains of service members who were diagnosed with blast-related concussions found visible evidence of damage to the brain.

Researchers believe the unique scarring that the study found could account for the mental health conditions that are diagnosed more frequently among service members who have suffered mild TBIs or been exposed to blast concussions.

In other words, the "invisible wounds" - as TBI is frequently called - might not be invisible anymore.

"The more we look, the more we're finding other subtleties and other kinds of changes in the brains of individuals who've been exposed to blast," said Dr. Daniel Perl, one of the study's researchers and a neuropathologist specializing in TBI and neurodegeneration at the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

As a result, "we think there is a biology to this, that the exposure to blast can, in some people, produce damage to the brain, which leads to dysfunction and underlies some aspects of [mental health issues]," Perl said.
A 2019 study of a Department of Veterans Affairs health care database found that "a history of TBI increased the risk for suicide and other psychiatric conditions by more than two-fold."

Veterans with a history of TBI also had a two-to-four times higher prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses compared with those who did not suffer a TBI, with PTSD being the most common, according to the TBICoE team.

The prevalence of depression in the mTBI group was 68.1 percent, the TBICoE team said.

David Riggs, a clinical psychologist and chair of the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at USU, explained how the exact reason for the neuropsychiatric symptoms service members experience following a blast-related concussion is not clear.

"We don't know exactly, particularly in the case of mild TBIs or concussions, what might be leading to these problems because it's very hard to identify the specific change in the way that the brain functions after a concussion," he said.
read more here
I had TBI from one incident when I was 5 and almost died twice the same night. Back then they didn't call it TBI (traumatic brain injury) but had a fractured skull and a concussion, which also caused changes in how my brain worked. (Yes, try the joke but I've heard them all before) I changed how I remember things, including spelling, but it also caused a lot of speech problems.

I find it fascinating that researchers seem to avoid the fact that a bomb blast is traumatic and thus, one person could have both from the same event!

Also keep in mind that they have also been studying football players too.

Degenerative Brain Disease Found In 87% of Former Football Players: Study TIME
Among players with severe CTE, 85% had signs of dementia, and 89% had behavioral or mood symptoms, or both. They were also likely to have issues in brain regions associated with depressive symptoms, impulsivity and anxiety. 95% had cognitive symptoms, like issues with memory, executive function and attention.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

TBI and PTSD aren't usually diagnosed until long after those other than honorable discharges are handed out

A new insult to veterans: Thousands are unlawfully being denied medical care | Vince Bzdek

The Gazette
Vince Bzdek
March 7, 2020
Just because a discharge is “other than honorable” doesn’t mean that a vet doesn't qualify for medical benefits, according to the VA’s own rules. But the new study by the Veterans Legal Clinic at Harvard Law School says the VA has unlawfully turned away thousands of veterans with other-than-honorable discharges because officials at the VA systematically misunderstood the law and didn’t review the vets’ applications properly.
A new study has discovered that the VA has unlawfully turned away thousands of veterans with other-than-honorable discharges because officials at the VA systematically misunderstood the law and didn’t review the vets’ applications properly. Associated Press file photo. Ted S. Warren
Veterans call it “bad paper.”

In a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of stories reported in 2013, The Gazette found that more soldiers than ever are receiving “bad paper”, which means they are receiving “other than honorable” discharges for some sort of misconduct ranging from drug use to insubordination.

The Gazette investigation, based on data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, found that the annual number of misconduct discharges was up more than 25% Armywide since 2009. At the eight Army posts that house most of the service's combat units, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, misconduct discharges had surged 67%.

The Gazette discovered a Catch-22 about those discharges. Many “other than honorable” discharges stem from misconduct due to traumatic brain injuries received during service or to mental health issues caused by deployment. The problem is TBI and PTSD aren't usually diagnosed until long after those other than honorable discharges are handed out.
read it here

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Over 100 servicemembers with TBI from Iran bombs..,not just headaches

Over 100 US troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following Iran strike

Barbara Starr
February 10, 2020
Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.

(CNN)Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq, according to a US official with knowledge of the latest information.
A picture of the destruction left at Al Asad base in Iraq after it was struck by Iranian missiles.

Later on Monday the Pentagon released a statement confirming that 109 service members had been diagnosed, an increase of 45 from the end of January when they said 64 service members had been suffered injuries.

The statement added that nearly 70% of the injured service members have returned to duty.
read it here

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Navy Seal Committed suicide after battle with PTSD and TBI...not just a headache


by Stavros Atlamazoglou
59 minutes ago
Following President Trump’s statements about TBIs after Iran’s missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, Mr Frank Larkin penned a letter to the President, explaining the hidden aspects of the problem.

On a Sunday morning of 2017, Ryan Larkin, a Navy SEAL with four combat deployments under his belt, committed suicide. He was just 29 years old.
He was haunted by a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that was caused by repeated exposure to concussive blows and explosions. But the Navy and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) thought he was crazy.

His father, Frank J Larkin, also a former Navy SEAL and the 40th United States Senate Sergeant at Arms, is now fighting to raise awareness about the multiple facets of brain injuries that can lead to behavior change, other medical problems, or even suicide.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Ryan Larkin had completed four combat deployments as a Navy SEAL to Afghanistan and Iraq. He had completed the Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) course and the Navy SEAL Sniper course; he was also a qualified breacher.
After coming home from his third deployment, the Navy docs diagnosed him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and referred him to a variety of programs. The common denominator between the different programs, some of which were helpful, according to his father, was the medication. Throughout the duration of his two-year treatment, the doctors prescribed him over 40 different medications. And yet he didn’t seem to get any better. In fact, they made him worse.
read it here

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

TBI is associated with a greater risk of mental health conditions

Critically injured soldiers have high rates of mental health disorders

by University of Massachusetts Amherst
JANUARY 28, 2020
In addition, Chin found that the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher—not lower, as previous investigators have assumed—among combat soldiers with more severe TBI.
This chart compares the incidence of various mental health diagnoses among soldiers with TBI vs other serious injuries. Credit: UMass Amherst

U.S. combat soldiers who suffered a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely than soldiers with other serious injuries to experience a range of mental health disorders, according to a new retrospective study by University of Massachusetts Amherst health services researchers.

"A central takeaway is that severe TBI is associated with a greater risk of mental health conditions—not just PTSD," says lead investigator David Chin, assistant professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. "Our findings suggest that patients who are critically injured in combat and sustain severe TBI have particularly high rates of mental health disorders."
Mining data from the U.S. Department of Defense, Chin found that 71% of all the severely injured soldiers were diagnosed in follow-up care with at least one of five mental health conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and mood disorders, adjustment reactions, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and cognitive disorders.
read it here


Brain injuries from Iran air strike highlight military's failure to care for its own

USA Today
Stephen N. Xenakis Opinion contributor
Febuary 1, 2020

The medical campaign to treat psychological problems and brain injury has fallen short. Hundreds of thousands suffer the invisible injuries of war.
First the Pentagon said no U.S. troops were injured in Iran's missile strike last month on an Iraqi air base hosting Americans. Then it rose to 11 with brain injuries, then 34, then 50, and by Thursday the number was up to 64. That's upsetting, as was President Donald Trump's recent comment that "it's not very serious."
Shameful failure to help war fighters
Many years passed before the Pentagon acknowledged IED blasts as a game-changing combat injury. In 2004, I alerted the senior leadership in Army medicine. The young amputees at Walter Reed Army Medical Center complained of headaches, sleep problems and “not thinking right.” Any blast powerful enough to take the legs off a ground trooper would certainly rattle his brains. But, then again, the conventional mentality across the country did not acknowledge the damage from repeated concussions, as too many professional football players have tragically experienced.
read it here

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dog taught veteran to heal PTSD

At $20,000 a pup, service dogs bark Philly military veterans back to life

Philadephia Inquirer
by Erin Arvedlund
June 5, 2019

After he considered suicide, Curtis Thompson finally admitted that he might need help.

“I stereotyped myself. I wasn’t an old man, like in Vietnam and World War II,” says Army vet Thompson, 41, who lives in Burlington Township.

Deployed to Kosovo in 1999 and three times to Iraq, Thompson was discharged honorably in 2006. He got divorced from his first wife, couch surfed, and endured panic attacks, nightmares and brief homelessness.

By 2013, he reconnected with a high school sweetheart (they have since married). She insisted he seek treatment at VA medical centers in Philadelphia and Marlton, N.J., where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and severe PTSD from his time in combat and exposure to a roadside bomb.

“My doctor said a service dog would really help, but I couldn’t afford to pay $20,000” — the going price for a fully-trained service animal that is attuned to veterans and their health issues.
read more here

Sunday, June 2, 2019

UK Iraq veteran crosses finish line with help from "brothers"

Emotional moment Hull's heroic wounded veteran walks across Hull 10k finish line

Hull Live
BySophie Kitching
2 JUN 2019

This is the joyous moment war veteran Chris Ashton, who lost the ability to walk after being hit by a grenade in Iraq, crossed the finishing line of the Hull 10k.
Mr Ashton, 35, had life-changing surgery after he was injured while serving in 2006. The incident has also affected his ability to talk.
Just as he did last year with the help of charity Hull 4 Heroes, Mr Ashton was pushed around the Hull 10k on Sunday morning, and managed to walk the final steps across the finishing line, cheered on by his supporters.

Mr Ashton was a radio operator with the Royal Logistics Corp and was attached to The Black Watch in Iraq in 2006 when a grenade hit his face at a speed of 1,500mph.

The grenade shattered his skull, and has left him blind in one eye.
read more here

Friday, May 24, 2019

SEAL TEAM got it wrong on TBI?

SEAL TEAM got it wrong on TBI? Yes they did!

I love this show...but it is because I got hooked on the characters and not technicalities. That is, until the last few shows this year. 

Never Out of the Fight

Bravo team's future is on the line when Commander Shaw (Peter Jessop) recommends they be split up, but Jason's unit has one final mission to prove him wrong. (TV-14 L, V) Air Date: May 22, 2019

DoD Issues Purple Heart standards for brain injury

American Forces Press Service
By Jim Garamone
April 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2011 -- U.S. servicemembers have long been eligible to receive the Purple Heart Medal for the signature wounds of the current wars -- mild traumatic brain injuries and concussions -- but now there is more clarity on how medical criteria for the award are applied, Defense Department officials said yesterday.

The criteria for the Purple Heart award state that the injury must have been caused by enemy action or in action against the enemy, and has to be of a degree requiring treatment by a medical officer.

But it may be difficult to determine when a mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI, or a concussive injury that does not result in a loss of consciousness is severe enough to require treatment by a medical officer.

“This is why we created this baseline standard,” DoD spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said.

DoD allows the award of the Purple Heart even if a servicemember was not treated by a medical officer, as long as a medical officer certifies that the injury would have required treatment by a medical officer had one been available.

DoD officials said that as the science of traumatic brain injuries becomes better understood, guidance for award of the medal will evolve.

“The services are not able to speculate as to how many servicemembers may have received a mild TBI or concussion but did not seek or receive medical treatment,” Lainez said. “Therefore, each military department will establish its retroactive review procedures in the near future to ensure deserving servicemembers are appropriately recognized.”

Retroactive reviews would cover injuries suffered since Sept. 11, 2001, she added.

The Marine Corps has issued clarifying guidance to ensure commanders in the field understand when the Purple Heart is appropriate for concussions.

Army officials are preparing to issue their guidance and ask soldiers to wait until submission requirements are published through command channels and on the Human Resources Command website at before submitting or resubmitting nominations for the Purple Heart Medal for concussion injuries.

Once the Army publishes its requirements, officials said, soldiers should resubmit requests through their chains of command.

So, there you have it. It isn't as if it is a new rule. As you can see, this was released in 2011.

Maybe it would have been better if they stayed focused on how to prevent suicides...especially with real Navy SEALs and other Special Forces.

US Special Ops suicides triple in 2018, as military confronts the issue

Washington (CNN)Suicides among active duty military personnel assigned to US Special Operations Command tripled in 2018, in a disturbing and as yet unexplained spike, CNN has learned.
Special Operations units saw 22 deaths by suicide in 2018, almost triple the eight cases seen in 2017, according to figures provided to CNN by the command.
SOCOM, as it's known, is the unified combatant command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations component of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force that take on counterterrorism and other specialized missions.
Based in Tampa, Florida, the command includes some of the military's most highly trained and effective fighting forces, including the Army's Delta Force and the Navy's SEAL Team Six.
    While sudden spikes in suicide rates have been noted in both the military and civilian populations, military officials who spoke to CNN said what has happened at SOCOM is striking. The surge in SOCOM suicides comes as the Marine Corps and Navy are experiencing 10-year highs in the number of suicide deaths.

    Friday, May 3, 2019

    SEAL TEAM Sent wrong message on TBI

    SEAL Team needs to check facts first

    Wounded Times
    Kathie Costos
    May 3, 2019

    I love SEAL Team...or at least I did until the last few weeks.

    This time the got the wrong information out about having TBI and how it is diagnosed and treated by the VA.

    If they had bothered to go into the VA site, they would have discovered all this, but it wouldn't have matched their story line that the VA sucks...and apparently the Navy too.

    Department of Defense
    From the VA
    Traumatic Brain Injury
    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by exposure to explosions is common among Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI is an injury to the head that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain.

    If you suspect that you have a TBI, go to your nearest VA health care facility for TBI screening.

    OEF/OIF/OND Veterans’ risk for TBI
    An X-ray of a person's brain
    For Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND), the sources of blast injury most often are improvised explosive devices (IED), also called roadside bombs; artillery, rocket and mortar shells, traps, aerial bombs, and rocket-propelled grenades. TBIs also can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls or any incident involving a sudden blow or jolt to the head.

    Even a mild TBI, also known as a concussion, can affect a person’s physical functioning and mental health.

    About 90 percent of TBIs are mild, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

    Symptoms of TBI
    Immediately after the incident, common symptoms include dizziness, confusion, or “seeing stars;” no memory of the incident; and loss of consciousness or feeling “knocked out.”

    Later on, symptoms include:
    Persistent headache or neck pain
    Sensitivity to light or noise, blurred vision
    Loss of balance
    Tiredness, lack of energy
    Ringing in the ears
    Chronic depression, anxiety, apathy
    Slowness in thinking, speaking, reading
    Problems with concentration, organizing daily tasks

    TBI screening
    You should be screened for TBI if you experienced any of the following during your military service:
    Close proximity to a blast or explosion
    Fragment wound or bullet wound above the shoulders
    Blow to the head
    Vehicle accident or crash
    We know there are problems at the VA, but why did they have to make this stuff up? Guess they hit "Rock bottom"

    Saturday, April 27, 2019

    "War is bad for the brain"

    Two sides of death

    Wounded Times
    Kathie Costos
    April 27, 2019

    Tonight I finally had time to watch one of my favorite shows, Seal Team and I have been having trouble getting this one out of my head.

    Brett Swan was having a hard time coming to terms with having PTSD, yet when he thought it was more a matter of TBI, he was not ashamed of saying he thought that was his problem.

    At the same time, the Team was searching for a fallen service member. They were risking their lives to recover his body. They knew he was already dead, yet, not leaving him behind was a priority to them.

    While Bravo Team is on a recovery mission in Mali, their friend, former Navy SEAL Brett Swan (Tony Curran), continues to struggle with his mental health. (TV-14 L, V) Air Date: Apr 24, 2019
    Clay, (Max Thieriot) still trying to recover from being blown up, had been trying to help Brett as he was being overcome by memory loss.

    As the TEAM was trying to locate the remains of Capt. Washington, Clay was getting Brett to the VA.

    The VA scenes were typical of a lot of VA hospitals, but not all of them. Long lines, long waits and "soldier's reward for serving" the country.

    Watching the TEAM go through the recovery efforts, then watching Brett and Clay at the VA, stuck with me.

    How is it that we seem to accept every effort being made to recover the fallen to honor their lives lost in service, yet, cannot manage to do the same for those who are wounded while serving?

    How is it that, as Brett seemed to find no problem with being in the grip of TBI, he had such a hard time with PTSD? That happens all the time...still and it shows that after decades of research, education and claiming they are doing all they can to get rid of the stigma, it is still stronger than PTSD itself?

    Clay was there for Brett, but Brett gave up. It is obvious that the writers had been paying attention to the latest news reports of veterans committing suicide at the VA. It would have been great if they had paid attention to the rest of the things going on at the what they have been getting right.

    Brett's doctor said he could not treat him for TBI without medical evidence he had it and could not order and MRI since it was not documented in his service record.

    Well, that is wrong and frankly, BS. No veteran would be treated and compensated for PTSD, or a long list of other disabilities, if that was how they were determined.

    They also got the "therapy" session wrong. That would be more like a first session, not one that happens after multiple visits. Since Brett was on a lot of medications, it would not be a first for him.

    He kept getting upset with "mental disorder" term being used, and then tried to change it to TBI because he understood that to be a wound. As Brett was trying to explain that he was sure he had TBI instead of PTSD, he said "war is bad for the brain" and he was right.

    This again, shows that is also a problem for too many veterans because they still do not understand what PTSD actually means. It means after they were wounded. "Post" is after and "Trauma" is Greek for wound.

    The TEAM found Capt. Washington and continued to risk their lives to bring his body home, while Brett was planning on leaving his body behind.

    Clay found him in the parking lot.

    This is one of those shows that will not be easy to just let go of.

    After the episode, CBS did a message about needing help and that was great too. At least, they are talking about a lot of things that happen and I hope as the series goes on, they cover more of what really happens at the VA that does work.

    They need to know they matter just as much as the fallen and no one gets left behind.

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Someone robbed from future home of amputee veteran

    Thieves steal materials from disabled veteran's future home

    KIRO 7 News 
    By: Shelby Miller 
    Nov 28, 2018 

    “I lost both of my limbs, obviously. Both of my ear drums blew out, my left eardrum was 100 percent, my right eardrum was 25 percent. The blast threw me back,” he said. “It gave me a traumatic brain injury because I hit my head so hard and it also gave me two bulging discs in my lower spine,” said Sawyer. Since then, the retired army veteran has overcome the unthinkable. Now, he has to deal with even more. 

    Thieves in Maytown, Thurston County, stole more than $5,000 worth of building materials from the construction site of a disabled veteran’s future home. 

    “When you feel like you’re not really worthy of a home in the first place and then you come out here and you find somebody’s broken into a box and stolen a bunch of materials, you know, from your project that have been donated for free - that just makes me feel even worse,” said Sgt. Jereme Sawyer.
    The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said the theft happened at 4022 150th Ave. SW.

    Those who’d like to help can donate to Homes For Our Troops. Anyone with information is asked to call the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office at 360-704-2740. read more here

    Saturday, November 17, 2018

    Court allows military veterans suffering from service-connected PTSD and TBI lawsuit

    Court allows class-action suit against Navy over ‘bad paper’ discharges

    Military Times
    Leo Shane III
    November 16, 2018

    WASHINGTON — Veterans forced from the Navy and Marine Corps for what they say were undiagnosed mental health problems will be able move ahead with a class-action lawsuit against the military asking for denied benefits, a federal court ruled Thursday.

    Marines assigned the 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit move uphill during training operations in Jordan on April 24, 2018. A new court ruling will allow "bad paper" veterans to bring a class-action lawsuit against the Navy for what they claim were unlawful dismissals from the ranks. (Cpl. Austin Livingston/Marine Corps)
    The move could affect thousands of so-called “bad paper” veterans who allege Defense Department officials unjustly ended their careers rather than deal with their military-related injuries.

    “This decision is a victory for the tens of thousands of military veterans suffering from service-connected PTSD and TBI who are denied the support of VA resources because of an unfair discharge status,” Tyson Manker, an Iraq War veteran and plaintiff in the case, said in a statement Friday.

    He called the court’s favorable ruling “further evidence of the Department of Defense’s disgraceful violation of the legal rights of the men and women who have served their country.”
    read more here

    Wednesday, October 24, 2018

    Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year Helping Veterans Recover

    New Bedford veteran overcame his troubles and now helps other veterans

    Sun Coast Today
    Curt Brown
    October 23, 2018

    Azevedo was deployed to Desert Storm with the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1991 and was with the Naval Reserve until 1993 and received an honorable discharge in 1994. He worked as a corrections officer and then became a member of the New Bedford Fire Department, after leaving the Navy.

    But then 9/11 happened and Azevedo had a change of heart after the terrorist attacks. He remembers hearing the sound of fighter jets over his deck flying from Cape Cod hours after the attacks, he said.
    NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford veteran, who is devoting his life to helping others after suffering a combat-related brain injury in Iraq, is this year’s Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year.

    Christopher E. Azevedo, 48, who also recently retired from the New Bedford Fire Department, was unanimously selected by the Board of Directors of the Veterans Transition House for the honor, according to Wayne Carvalho, chairman of the board. “We all feel he epitomizes what struggle is for veterans and the ability to give back,” Carvalho said.

    Azevedo will receive the award at a luncheon at Rachel’s Lakeside, 950 State Road, Dartmouth, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8.

    He said he does not help others for the recognition and was floored when he received a phone call from board member Linda Silveira, informing him he was selected as this year’s Veteran of the Year. He was nominated last year, did not receive it and never thought he would be nominated again, let alone receive it.
    During his deployment, he survived numerous attacks, but in one direct hit to his vehicle from an IED, he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as damage to his spine and chest, he said.

    Azevedo suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his service, which he still battles today, and was overprescribed meds and became addicted to painkillers, he said. He won that battle, too, and has been free of painkillers for five years now and alcohol-free for three years.
    read more here

    Saturday, October 20, 2018

    Some meds became the ties that bind veterans to suffering

    What have we done to our veterans?

    Combat PTSD Wounded Times
    Kathie Costos
    October 20, 2018

    In 2004, the US Department of Veterans Affairs issued a warning on Lariam following a warning from the FDA the year before. VA Dr. Jonathan Perlin wrote it "may rarely be associated with certain long-term chronic health problems that persist for weeks, months, and even years after the drug is stopped."

    There were suspected links to suicides, including Spec. Adam Kuligowski, Afghanistan veteran from Fort Campbell 101st Airborne Division. His father said that the drug was found in his system.

    It was suspected in the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, convicted of killing 16 Afghans. He had PTSD and TBI. He was on his third tour when it happened. His case caused the military to stop using it in 2009.

    Dr. Remington Nevin, epidemiologist and Army Major said "Melfoquine is a zombie drug. It's dangerous, and should have been killed off years ago. He added it was "toxic to the brain."

    It is possible that this drug had something to do with crimes committed in Canada as well. The thing is, the veteran should have to pay for what he did, but should not be further punished with incarceration without psychological treatment.

    This drug was given to many NATO forces. We should all be asking, "What have we done to our veterans?"


    Controversial anti-malaria drug an element in Mark Donlevy's actions, says defence lawyer

    Dan Zakreski
    October 19, 2018
    Donlevy is also scheduled to stand trial later this fall on 11 other sexual assault charges related to when he worked as a massage therapist in the city.
    The lawyer for a former Saskatoon massage therapist guilty of sexual assault said Friday that his client was given a controversial anti-malaria drug in 1992, and the effects haunt him still.
    Mark Donlevy at Court of Queen's Bench. (CBC)
    Alan McIntyre raised the point during sentencing arguments for Mark Donlevy, at the Court of Queen's Bench in Saskatoon.

    Donlevy was found guilty in September of sexually assaulting a woman he met through an online dating site. McIntyre argued for a three-year sentence, while prosecutor Cory Bliss said three-and-a-half years is more appropriate.

    McIntyre raised the issue of the impact of the anti-malaria drug, while providing Justice Heather MacMillan-Brown with personal details about Donlevy's life.

    McIntyre said that Donlevy took the anti-malarial drug while he was in Somalia serving with the Canadian military, and that it has affected him since then.
    read more here

    Thursday, October 18, 2018

    Other-Than-Honorable-Discharge Vets needing help can go to the VA

    VA Struggles To Reach Other-Than-Honorable-Discharge Vets In Need Of Help

    WBUR News
    Steve Walsh
    October 18, 2018
    Onan is taking advantage of the program. After years of being rejected by the VA, Onan now is getting his PTSD treatment paid for by the agency, and he hopes it helps him get back to being the person he was before the injury.
    Former Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Onan was in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.
    "I remember laying down in the truck," Onan said. "Waking up, there's dust, there's debris all over me, and there's an Iraqi colonel who's sitting in the truck with us, and he's just screaming, screaming. I don't understand what he's saying."

    Onan suffered a head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. During the next year, he was in and out of trouble with military officials, mainly for small infractions, which he chalks up to the medications he was taking.

    Then, while on leave, he was caught with a small amount of cocaine and kicked out of the Marines.

    Onan is one of the thousands of veterans who have other-than-honorable (OTH) discharges. They don't typically qualify for VA benefits, even though many have service-related trauma. And as a group they have a high suicide rate.
    read more here

    Thursday, July 26, 2018

    Stolen Valor: Gulf War at 15 and Iraq when service ended in 1996

    UPDATE: After being shocked by the update, I decided to go to the VA website for the answer. Here it is!
    Gulf War Service
    For VA benefit purposes under 38 CFR 3.317, Gulf War service is active military duty in any of the following areas in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations at any time August 2, 1990 to present. This includes Veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010) and Operation New Dawn (2010-2011).

    Southwest Asia theatre of military operations: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E., Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea

    Saudi Arabia
    The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
    The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)
    Gulf of Aden
    Gulf of Oman
    Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea
    The airspace above these locations
    Note: Service in Afghanistan on or after September 19, 2001, is considered qualifying service for disability benefits associated with certain presumptive diseases.

    Really odd followup to this story boils down to no one officially ended the Gulf War!
    “More than 650,000 Service members served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 2, 1990 to July 31, 1991. For VA benefits eligibility purposes, the Gulf War period is still in effect,” the VA website states. “This means that anyone who served on active duty from August 2, 1990, to present is considered a Gulf War Veteran. For example, the Veterans Pension benefit requires service during a wartime period. Therefore, any Veteran who served on active military service for any period from August 2, 1990, to the present meets the wartime service requirement.”
    This was reported on the Bradenton Herald along with this part.
    “Even those of us who served in Operation Desert Storm were told that ‘the war was over’ when it fact there was only a cease fire declared, and no official end to the war has been declared as of this date, and all veterans who served from Aug. 2, 1990 until a date yet to be declared are Gulf War veterans.”

    Holmes Beach mayoral candidate falsely claims he’s a veteran of first Gulf War. He was 15
    Bradenton Herald
    Mark Young
    July 25, 2018

    Holmes Beach mayoral candidate Joshua Linney claims in his campaign biography that he served with the U.S. Army in Iraq and that he is a veteran of the first Gulf War.
    Holmes Beach mayoral candidate Joshua Linney claims he misspoke in misrepresenting his military service. Provided photo

    “I’m a Gulf War veteran whose worked to overcome war, trauma, alcoholism, chemical dependence and PTSD, while living with disabilities, and I conquered them all,” Linney, 42, wrote in a biography submitted to the Manatee County supervisor of elections office and posted on the agency’s website

    However, Linney was never in Iraq, according to his discharge papers. And as for his claim to being a Gulf War veteran, the war was fought in January-February 1991, when Linney was 15.
    When he was 18, Linney enlisted in the Army in September 1993 and was medically discharged in August 1996, after he fell off a building and suffered a traumatic brain injury for which he receives disability benefits, according to his discharge papers.
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    Sunday, May 6, 2018

    Indiana National Guard veteran helped by community

    Volunteers pitch in to help Indiana veteran who suffers multiple seizures a day
    WTTV 4 News
    MAY 5, 2018

    RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. – Volunteers descended onto a farmhouse in Russiaville Saturday, helping a veteran and Hoosier who dedicated more than two decades with the Indiana National Guard.
    Larry Sparks served numerous deployments including to Iraq, Afghanistan and to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. What has followed is a traumatic brain injury, daily seizures and PTSD.

    “It’s been a process,” he said. “It’s been tough.”

    Sparks reached out to the non-profit Wish 4 Our Heroes to help.

    Saturday volunteers sanded walls, put my new siding and help renovate numerous rooms inside the home. More volunteers are needed to help paint next week.
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    Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    Widow keeps mission and love going on and on

    After his death, combat veteran's family keeps his mission going
    By Mary Baer
    Jodi Mohrmann Anchor Managing Editor of special projects
    April 23, 2018
    "Most people dream of the kind of love that I had and I feel blessed that even though it was cut short I had that much time with him." Kristle Helmuth
    MIDDLEBURG, Fla. - Nate Helmuth came home from war with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, but instead of giving up, the combat veteran chose to help others like him. With his wife, Kristle, and their two children by their side, they worked tirelessly helping one military veteran at a time.

    The couple, both U.S. Army veterans, also instilled patriotism and country into their children.

    Photos of their 12-year-old son Nate Jr., assisting in lowering the Stars and Stripes at Coppergate Elementary went viral last fall as Hurricane Irma approached.

    Now, the father that taught his son Nate Jr. and his daughter, Kinley, to respect the flag, is gone.

    "I think we always knew that there was that chance that things would be more serious than they were and maybe we would lose him," Kristle said.

    They lost Nate just four months ago. On Jan. 6, the 36-year-old unexpectedly collapsed in their home; he lost his life to the wounds he suffered years earlier in Iraq.

    Besides Nate's PTSD and his traumatic brain injury caused by an explosion in Iraq, he inhaled chlorine.

    "Basically it just shredded his lungs," said Kristle. "He couldn't breathe."

    They were injuries that dashed his dream to be a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic.
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