Invisible War Wounds
Before World War I, all the world’s armies used picric acid in their cannons and shells, a compound similar to the one common in modern-day fireworks. In 1902, the German army became the first military force to use TNT, and for the most part, TNT is still in use today. So, the difference between a battle in 1900 and one in 1914 is like the difference between visiting a Fourth of July fireworks show and a free-fire zone in Iraq or Afghanistan.
As wounded soldiers returned to England in World War I, doctors recorded a number of disturbing videos which have only recently been re-discovered. In this one, the wounded soldier has almost no control over his body, but after extensive therapy, although his hands still twitch and he is clearly not 100 percent “healed,” he is clearly able to function normally.
At the time, doctors diagnosed these wounded soldiers with “shell shock,” because they assumed that since warfare was suddenly so much more violent, the soldiers must have had difficulty processing what they experienced. These doctors were almost correct. Today, doctors understand that such violence creates shock waves that disrupts the emotional-cognitive pathways. Furthermore, exposure to combat stress erodes the amygdala, further inhibiting this function.
Treating Combat TBIs
In other words, the “shell shock” soldiers probably did not suffer from processing disorders; rather, the combat damaged their brains just like it damaged their bodies. The primary difference between the two is that most tissue wounds eventually heal, at least to a large extent, after extensive time and aggressive treatment. However, Traumatic Brain Injuries never heal, because dead brain cells always remain dead, for the most part.
All that being said, there is clearly hope. The soldier in the video almost completely recovered from a TBI in a medical environment that was largely unchanged since the Middle Ages. So, after extensive physical therapy, almost any soldier can recover from a TBI, which many doctors call the “signature wound” of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Disabled servicemembers can apply for benefits even before they are discharged. These benefits are available for any service-connected disability.
- Direct: The victim must have medical evidence that shows the injury occurred on a combat mission; such a diagnosis exists in almost all VA disability cases.
- Aggravated: Veterans with documented preexisting conditions that war wounds aggravated are usually entitled to full benefits.
- Presumed: ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), many tropical disease, and some other chronic and degenerative illnesses are covered, in most cases.
The VA’s Board of Veterans Appeals assigns a disability degree between 10 and 100 percent; veterans who are completely disabled usually receive at least $2,700 a month.
VA benefits are available for visible and invisible wounds. For a free consultation with an assertive personal injury lawyer in Cave City, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We are committed to maximum compensation for victims.