This past Sunday’s edition of the New York Times featured a moving account of Jason Poole, a 23 year-old Marine who sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq:
“…those who know Corporal Poole say his personality – gregarious, kind and funny – has remained intact. Wounded on patrol near the Syrian border on June 30, 2004, he considers himself lucky to be alive. So do his doctors. “Basically I want to get my life back,” he said. “I’m really trying.”
But he knows the life ahead of him is unlikely to match the one he had planned, in which he was going to attend college and become a teacher, get married and have children. Now, he hopes to volunteer in a school. His girlfriend from before he went to war is now just a friend. Before he left, they had agreed they might talk about getting married when he got back.
“But I didn’t come back,” he said.”
The article puts a human face on one soldier’s TBI, but it also acts as a strong piece of journalism. As most of us working with TBIs already know, survival rates for severe injuries continue to rise–but the support systems in place aren’t keeping up. The New York Times estimates that TBIs from the Iraq War alone will cost the government $14 billion dollars over the next twenty years. The crisis of care for TBI survivors is starting to get some notice. Now hopefully this notice will entice legislators to make the much-needed reforms to our healthcare system.
Click here to read “Struggling Back from War“