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Fwd: [arab_nationalist] 18,004 as March 13, 2004 is the total US Militry evacuations out of Iraq

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    Strictly speaking not every medical evacuation from a combat zone is a combat wound. Then again, you don t generally expect people of military age to be
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2004
      Strictly speaking not every medical evacuation from a combat zone is a
      combat wound. Then again, you don't generally expect people of military
      age to be dropping from heart attacks and strokes. It is rather unrealistic
      to expect that 12% of the troops in Iraq would have illnesses or non-
      combat injuries severe enough to warrant evacuation from the country in
      one year of duty. I think we are not being told the whole truth here.

      --Kevin Walsh

      ================= Begin forwarded message =================
      ---------------------------------
      Medical evacuations in Iraq war hit 18,000
      By Mark Benjamin , United Press International , Published 3/31/2004
      3:04 PM

      WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- In the first year of war in Iraq, the
      military has made 18,004 medical evacuations during Operation Iraqi
      Freedom, the Pentagon's top health official told Congress Tuesday.

      The new data, through March 13, is nearly two-thirds higher than the
      11,200 evacuations through Feb. 5 cited just last month to Congress by
      the same official, William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of
      defense for health affairs.

      In both cases, Winkenwerder described the evacuations as "total
      evacuations out of theater," and he said both times that the majority
      of evacuations represented routine medical treatment and not
      life-threatening injuries.

      "As of March 13, 2004, data from the Transportation Command shows
      18,004 total evacuations out of theater," Winkenwerder said Tuesday.

      "As of February 5, 2004, data from the Transportation Command shows
      11,200 total evacuations out of theater," he told a separate House
      panel Feb. 25.

      A spokesman for Winkenwerder, James Turner, said the latest figure
      represents multiple evacuations for single patients -- including moving
      some soldiers back into theater. He said the 18,004 evacuations was for
      11,700 patients.

      Turner did not return e-mails or phone calls Tuesday and Wednesday
      asking for elaboration.

      Winkenwerder appeared Tuesday before a House Government Reform panel
      with four Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers. Those soldiers
      offered a litany of complaints about poor health care for reserve and
      guard troops -- problems they said have been widespread during the war
      on terror, particularly on return to the United States.

      Soldiers described being deployed to war with serious medical
      conditions and then getting poor and erratic health care upon return --
      including months-long waits for doctors, surgeries or treatments.
      United Press International first reported that problem last October.

      Two soldiers said better access to mental health services might have
      prevented two suicide attempts at two separate bases, and asserted that
      soldiers are sometimes prescribed powerful drugs by military health
      professionals in place of medical care. The soldiers also described
      widespread concern about being put out of the military without fair
      compensation for wounds and illnesses they received during service.

      "Is it a question of incompetent medical care or a question of a
      well-organized government system that achieves just what it is supposed
      to achieve?" Retired Army Reserve First Sgt. Gerry Mosley, who served
      in Iraq, asked the panel.

      "Use people, strip them of all human dignity, disrespect them, wear
      them down, and be pleased when soldiers no longer have the physical and
      mental capacities to continue to fight to have the same rights and
      respect as those American citizens for whom we have fought to preserve
      those entitlements."

      Mosley said that after returning from Iraq last summer, he has had to
      drive 195 miles each way at his own expense to see a specialist. He
      said the Army put him out of service without compensating him for a
      neck injury or vertigo apparently triggered from mortar explosions. He
      can no longer work his civilian job. Since being put out of the Army,
      he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

      The wives of two soldiers also testified. Laura Ramsey, wife of Florida
      Army National Guard Spc. John A. Ramsey, said through tears that she
      did not want her husband to serve in the guard anymore, after fighting
      for nine months to get surgery on his shoulders that were injured in
      Iraq. "Not after the nine months of hell that we have been through,"
      Ramsey said.

      Pentagon health officials described a series of steps they are taking
      to better screen soldiers for health problems before and after
      deploying for combat. They also have taken steps to ease the strain at
      major bases -- including a new policy to send some soldiers back home
      for treatment near their families after 25 days if they are unfit for
      duty after showing up for service.

      While they wait, the Pentagon has set new standards to help ensure that
      living conditions are appropriate for sick, injured or ill troops.

      Pentagon health officials mostly have emphasized swift and professional
      care for the acutely wounded by combat in Iraq.

      "During Operation Iraqi Freedom, we used far-forward surgical and
      medical teams and technologies to care for casualties within minutes of
      injury," Winkenwerder told Congress last month. "Based on the current
      analysis, 98 percent of those wounded who, in fact, reached medical
      treatment survived their injuries."

      But Pentagon data and interviews with soldiers at six bases in the
      United States and Europe show combat wounds represent a minority of
      casualties during wartime. The Pentagon "Operation Iraqi Freedom U.S.
      Casualty Update" on Tuesday listed a total of 2,998 soldiers wounded in
      action, in comparison to the 18,004 medical evacuations described by
      Winkenwerder.

      The Pentagon defines a casualty as "any person who is lost to the
      organization by having been declared dead, duty status-whereabouts
      unknown, missing, ill, or injured."

      More mundane wartime injures seem more prevalent: back and neck
      injuries, torn knees and elbows, heart and lung problems and mental
      problems like post-traumatic stress disorder that may not be diagnosed
      for months after returning from combat.

      Soldiers say acute care for the wounded at Landstuhl Regional Medical
      Center in Germany and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington,
      D.C., is excellent. But ill and injured troops -- particularly National
      Guard and Army Reserve soldiers -- sprinkled across the United States
      describe widespread concern for medical care and benefits described by
      the panel Tuesday. Some are in "medical hold" at U.S. bases while they
      wait for treatment.

      "I have spoken probably with hundreds of soldiers since I was placed in
      med hold," Spc. Timothi M. McMichael told the panel Tuesday. He is on
      medical hold at Fort Knox, Ky. "I can only say that the uniform
      consensus is one of frustration, disappointment and anger. I have had
      soldiers with 15, 20, even 25 years in the military tell me they are
      disgusted," McMichael said. "The Army cannot afford to lose the number
      of senior non-commissioned officers it is losing every day."

      In addition to the new policies, Winkenwerder said the Pentagon is
      racing to do better for these troops, as well as those wounded in
      combat. "I believe we are doing better. I really do," he told Congress
      Tuesday. "We understand. We appreciate that there are some issues that
      need to be addressed. We are aggressively addressing them."


      Copyright � 2001-2004 United Press International




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