September 23, 2015/in Commentary, Healthcare, Policy, Politics, Social Issues /by Ruth Roman
Many Americans have witnessed the obvious wounds of war, as our military heroes return home missing limbs, handicapped and by IED’s, roadside bombs, and combat injuries from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, there are just as many ‘hidden wounds’ that go unnoticed and are under reported in the news. PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, and TBI, traumatic brain injury, has contributed to increasing suicides from returning Vets. Military suicides nearly doubled from 2001-2011, with the spike being attributed to primarily the Army, the largest service branch. In addition, traumatic brain injury diagnoses have tripled since the beginning of the wars. Surviving family members, who try to piece their lives back together, have raised many questions about the medications administered by the Veterans Administration, treatment by the physicians handling the overload of veteran’s cases and prevention of future suicides of our servicemen and women.
One such case is that of LCPL Janos V. Lutz, who conducted tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was just 24 years old when he took his life. He was diagnosed with PTSD, TBI and had an injured back when he fell into an irrigation ditch during a combat mission, in addition to losing 14 of his combat brothers in one summer during one of his tours of duty. His Mother, Janine, related to me in our interview, that ‘the signs were there;’ but I didn’t know it then; we still lost our son. A proud Mother, she pointed to pictures on her wall of happier days, childhood pictures of her son boating and enjoying his life; a life that had so much to offer that was cut short prematurely.