Mild traumatic brain injury cases have been on the increase among the Fort Carson’s soldiers returning from war torn areas (Pach). 35 Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) were created after the 2007 scandal concerning serious shortcomings at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Dao & Frosch; AW2). The WTUs were intended to shelter injured soldiers with severe psychological trauma and physical wounds as they get treatment and recover (AW2).
Currently, the Fort Carson’s Unit shelters an estimate of 465 soldiers. Despite the perceived intention that the unit helps the soldiers seek cure interventions for physical and psychological traumas, a survey conducted on the soldiers and the health care professionals show different results. The transition unit is not a restful sanctuary as such and the soldiers connect it with a place of despair that separates damaged human beings from the rest of the people.
There are many problems that these soldiers experience, and this is according to the findings of the survey conducted where the soldiers and health professionals were interviewed and also from reports of other articles. First, these soldiers are given a laundry list of medication to treat various conditions such as depression, anxiety insomnia, nightmares and the likes; yet mild traumatic brain injury requires the attention of a specialist. Many soldiers are now becoming addicted to the prescription medications and some are even turning to potentially harmful drugs like heroine.
The survey with the soldiers and the Fort Carson’s health professionals confirmed that the wounded soldiers were fed on complex cocktails of drugs and this raises an eyebrow over accidental overdoses, addiction, or side effects from drug interactions. Another problem that stresses the soldiers in the unit is the length of taken to discharge the soldiers especially those that need to process out of the army. Shockingly, the discharge period can take place in more than a year’s time while the soldiers are still in the despair condition of the WTU.
Two bureaucratic agencies-the Fort Carson’s medical Army and the Department of Veteran Affairs-take an unexpectedly long time to evaluate the extent of the patients’ injuries and determine the benefits for the veterans, yet at this entire length of time, mild traumatic brain injury sufferers are receiving inadequate attention for their problem. The soldiers are also receiving rude treatment from the non-commissioned staff working in the unit. As patients suffering from psychological trauma, such kind of ill-treatment only worsens the matter instead of making the soldiers feel better.
Zeiter and Brooks (347) affirm that the war veterans require understanding and support of the health care professionals because the TBI condition is very devastating mentally and good communication between the staff and the soldiers is a step towards a therapeutic intervention. The most significant problem is that most soldiers from war in Iraq and Afghanistan come back with mild TBI but this is not detected as the screening interventions currently used by the Army’s health facility is insufficient.
This is because some soldiers are reported to have conditions associated with the disease much later even when they had already passed through the screening procedures. Moreover, even for the soldiers who have been diagnosed with the condition, treated and later discharged, studies show that the symptoms re-occur barely a year after the discharge. This shows that there are major limitations with the screening and treatment intervention for soldiers with mild TBI at Fort Carson.