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Fort Bliss Says It Will Examine How It Treats Brain Injuries

Medical commanders at one of America’s largest military bases have ordered a review into the care provided to soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injury, in response to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica.

Col. James Baunchalk, the commander of William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, told members of Congress that he was concerned by our report, which found that soldiers there struggled to receive adequate care for mild traumatic brain injuries.

The hospital is “committed to delivering the very highest quality care and support to our soldiers and their families, including those who may be affected by traumatic brain injuries,” Baunchalk wrote in a June 21 letter to Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M., a copy of which was obtained by NPR and ProPublica.

The Pentagon’s official figures show that more than 115,000 troops have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries, also called concussions, since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan. But our story said those figures likely understate the true toll, with some studies suggesting that the injuries go undiagnosed in tens of thousands of troops. While most recover quickly, some grapple with lasting mental and physical problems from exposure to explosions.

Read the full ProPublica story here

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