A Tale of Two Soldiers

The Monday, March 26, 2007 issue of the Richmond Times Dispatch had an article about the quality of treatment given to our returning, injured Veterans. I believe the article was a well written story that chronicled the recovery of two of our wounded soldiers, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Campbell and Marine Sgt Eddie Ryan.

SSgt. Campbell was injured last year on August 31 in Iraq when his vehicle rolled over. He wound up underneath the vehicle. SSgt. Campbell suffered multiple fractures of his hip and mild brain injury.

SSgt. Campbell was hospitalized for a month at Walter Reed and subsequently moved to the McGuire Medical facility for treatment that lasted twelve weeks. Attached to a medical hold over unit at Fort Bragg, N.C., Campbell receives physical therapy three times a week at a local hospital near his home town of Eden, N.C.

SSgt. Campbell will remain attached to his current unit while he continues his rehab, has another surgery, and completes his recovery. Both he and his wife, Crystal have nothing but high praises for the McGuire Facility. However, both share the view that Walter Reed seemed to be short staffed among other problems. Often his family had to go get staff to administer Ryan’s meds.

In the case of Marine Sgt. Eddie Ryan, recovery has been difficult. Not only has Eddie and his family struggled with his recovery, they also had what to them was an extremely unpleasant experience at the McGuire Veterans Hospital in Richmond. They constantly had to keep after the nursing staff to do their job of providing for Eddie’s needs. Eddie’s medications were often administered late after much prodding by his family . On occasion Eddie had to lay in his own feces for as long as an hour waiting to be changed. He developed bed sores that required antibiotics.

Eddie Ryan’s story began over sixteen months ago. If you think back, I and many other bloggers and milbloggers have been reporting on Eddie since his injury. He has become someone very special to us all. While serving in Baghdad as a sniper, Eddie was accidently shot twice in the head during combat by friendly sniper fire. As soon as his unit realized what had happened they began life saving measures. One article I read told how Eddie was “brought back” and cheated death by the great response he received on the battlefield from the medics.

Once stable enough to be moved, Eddie was taken to the Military hospital in Germany. His family had already been notified and arrived shortly afterwards. Eddie’s family has kept a constant vigil at Eddie’s side throughout his stay in the hospital in Germany, Bethesda, McGuire, and then back to Bethesda and finally the Helen Hayes Rehabilitative Hospital.

Initially Eddie’s parents were told Eddie would not survive his injuries. At one point his family was even asked about donating Eddie’s organ’s. But miraculously, Eddie survived. After the many tests conducted on patients with Eddie’s injuries, the doctors advised his family to be prepared that Eddie could remain in a permanent vegetative state. Again, Eddie beat the odds. While at McGuire, Eddie spoke to both his Mom and his dad.

Eddie is at home now. Through the generous donations of individuals, organizations, corporations, and people from all over the world, the family home has been renovated to meet Eddie’s special needs at this time. Every day Eddie under goes several types of therapy needed for recovery. He has physical, occupational and speech therapies. He is continuing to make a remarkable recovery.

Just a few weeks ago I visited their site which you can go to at my link below. Eddie loves to get cards and emails from people. He and his family have the kindest regards for people from all over the world who have sent well wishes, donations, and prayers to the family.

Much has been written lately about the quality of hospital care at Walter Reed and other facilities. Walter Reed has seen some firings. Every since the Post wrote their expose, all the hospitals are under scrutiny. But the appalling conditions at Walter Reed did not occur over night. In all fairness there are many things contributing to the problem. One is the major cuts in defense and military spending during the Clinton administration thanks to Bernie Sanders.

Another factor is that more and more battlefield injuries that would have meant certain death during Vietnam and possibly even up to and during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait are now being successfully treated on the battlefield in a manner that allows these critically injured to be evacuated to the hospital in Germany and ones in the States.

Now, injuries, as in Eddie’s case, that would have meant certain death before, are being stabilized on the battlefield and in the battlefield hospitals, then sent to the hospital in Germany then on to hospitals in the States. These amazing survivals have led to the VA hospitals’ being swamped with soldiers requiring specialized care that simply hasn’t been able to keep up with arrival of these critically injured soldiers. According to the Times Dispatch article, IED/VBIRD injuries contributed to the greatest number of these casualties. One staff member at McGuire said that the injuries he is seeing now are simply astounding, some of the most severe injuries he has ever seen.

The UN watchdog groups are very quick to condemn American and Coalition forces over every civilian casualty. Where has their condemnation over the terrorists use of IEDs and VBIEDs and other similar explosive devices used by the terrorists to kill our forces, the Iraqi Army forces, Iraqi civilians, and Iraqi police?

~ by devildog6771 on March 28, 2007.

2 Responses to “A Tale of Two Soldiers”

  1. The Democrats under Clinton cut the budget as often as they could. Of course they also made some token budgetary efforts. However most money was diverted to Domestic programs.

  2. This is being treated as if it has just started and the hospitals were all running just fine until now. Ask any VN vet whose been through the system what it was like for them. It’s been going on for too long because the politicians don’t have it high on their list (supposedly that’s changed now…*cough*) like peanut storage and spinach.

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