Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Veterans and medical care: getting the word out

PZ has an important post up. It's from a regular commenter there, brokenSoldier, who was wounded in Iraq, and has encountered bureaucratic obstacles getting the care and funding he was promised under the contract we make with people who join the military.

Go read it now. It's that important.

and my comment is as follows:


thank you very much for the assistance you provided me earlier with evaluating the feasibility of a pilot program to provide massage for vets with PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Because you helped me with organizing the ideas and assessing the need, I now have a basis for trying to get something started in the Seattle area with logistics, funding, etc.

I hope that soon I will have some news for you about preliminary results, and I hope that it will make a real difference to the people it will serve. If this does succeed to any degree, it will owe a great deal of that success to you, who assisted in its initial stages. I will keep you informed of its progress.

To the degree that I can get the word out about the larger situation with vets and medical care, I will do so as well, but I don't have the pulpit needed for major penetration. But I think in the course of starting up a program like this, it is a natural topic, and will come up in discussion a lot. So I can't predict if it will get traction, but I will do my best to do so.

To that end, I will also put it on my blog for my reader to see :).

And Molly, I think that the idea of a Manhattan Project for head wounds is a great one! The improvements in battlefield medicine over the last few decades mean that a lot of people who would have died in earlier wars are now surviving with TBI and spinal cord injuries, with lifelong sequelae.

I wish this society cared as much about taking care of the sick and wounded, and about keeping promises/contracts, as it does about developing weapons.

Posted by: thalarctos | July 23, 2008 9:46 AM

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The problem with public-contact jobs...

as a friend of mine likes to say, is the public.

Like the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, in its strong form, it's a little too absolutely misanthropic for me to go along with. In its weak form, however, there are lots of specific instances where individuals seem determined to bear it out.

Yesterday, I took Isadora in (more piccies soon--not only is she healing well, she actually makes the pinna-less look work on her!) for a post-surgical check-up. The amputation site is mostly healed, but there is still a little exudate, possibly where she managed to get the soft Elizabethan collar off and hooked herself with a claw, before we upgraded to a hard plastic collar. I ended up waiting for some time--not a problem, since between Isadora's nuzzling and the book I had brought along, I had more than enough to keep me amused. I don't know how long I waited, since I couldn't be arsed to get my phone out and check the time, but when the vet got in, she apologized profusely for the delay.

They had had two emergencies arrive within 5 minutes of each other--to conceal the species for HIPAA purposes of privacy and confidentiality, let's say a peccary with strychnine poisoning, and a wombat who suddenly crumped for no discernable reason, were brought through the door, one right after the other. Although she had initially thought they would lose them both, at the moment, both of them seemed to be hanging in there at the moment, and if they could hold that ground, perhaps they would each make it.

I was all like, don't be silly, you don't have to apologize for keeping me waiting while you're saving lives--after all, after all the pets whose lives you've prolonged for me over the years, like I'm going to begrudge other pets the exact same quality of care I know you'd give Izzy or the others in the same situation? After all, it was an emergency; the receptionist had kept me informed, I had plenty to keep me amused, and was in no rush, and if I had been, we could have rescheduled, as Izzy's not in any danger--I didn't see the problem.

Well, apparently, not everyone sees it that way--she's had people berate her for keeping her waiting during emergencies like that! It never would have occurred to me to do so, but apparently, there it is.

Oh, well, public-contact jobs, as above....I will state, as a general principle, that no one who is involved in *actively saving lives* ever has to apologize to me for keeping me waiting under the circumstances.

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