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Traumatic Brain Injury: The Signature Wound of the War in Iraq
Maryland, Virginia, & Washington, DC
If you have a loved one serving in Iraq, you worry about his or her safety every single day. While you know that your soldier has buddies, armor, and protective gear to keep him or her safe, nothing will relieve that worry until your soldier comes home. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., we support the families of our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of that support is helping Iraq veterans with traumatic brain injuries get the care they need when the VA or private insurance fails or refuses to provide it.
Iraq Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is now widely known as the signature wound of the current war in Iraq. As we are better able to protect our soldiers with high-tech helmets and other gear, many are surviving serious head injuries that would have been deadly in previous conflicts. While we are grateful for this life-saving protection for our loved ones in uniform, soldiers who survive head injuries often show symptoms of traumatic brain injury.
TBI symptoms vary widely from person to person, which makes TBI difficult to diagnose. In fact, the military has routinely failed to identify TBI in soldiers both in Iraq and back home, meaning that thousands of returning Iraq veterans may be unaware they have a traumatic brain injury. The most common brain injuries are concussions, which many people mistakenly believe are minor, short-term injuries. However, some concussion and TBI symptoms may not emerge for months or even years after the initial head trauma.
In addition, the damage to the brain caused by a concussion may put soldiers at risk of a more serious or even fatal traumatic brain injury if the brain is hurt again before the concussion heals. If a soldier you love was hurt in an accident, explosion, or experienced any head injuries, he or she should be evaluated by a physician trained to diagnose TBI.
TBI and PTSD in Iraq Veterans
If a member of your family is currently serving in Iraq, you are acutely aware of the dangers he or she faces. On the news, you hear about roadside bombs, IEDs, suicide bombers, and other threats to the safety of our beloved soldiers. Even if your soldier makes it back home without any visible wounds, the psychological scars from life in a war zone can last for decades. Post-traumatic stress disorder affects more than one in eight Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, according to a RAND Corporation study cited by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries are connected in the lives of many Iraq veterans. Often the same incident in which a soldier suffers a TBI is psychologically traumatizing enough to cause PTSD. In addition, PTSD and TBI can also share many of the same common symptoms, including:
- memory lapses
- behavioral and mood changes
Because the symptoms of TBI and PTSD overlap, soldiers and their caregivers may attribute these problems to psychological trauma when the root cause is a traumatic brain injury.
If you believe that you or someone you love may have suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq or Afghanistan, please contact the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC brain injury attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today to discuss your legal options.