More soldiers are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with wounds that would have been fatal a decade ago. The injuries have led to advances in combat medicine but have challenged the health care systems meant to help veterans back home. War reporter David Wood talks with Fresh Air about the hurdles facing these troops and their families.
Nearly 30 years ago, Hugh Herr lost both of his legs in a climbing accident at age 17. Today, he runs the Biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab and designs better prosthetic limbs for other amputees.
When Marine engineer Jonathan Kuniholm returned to his industrial-designed shop after a tour of duty in Iraq, one of his first projects was personal: He wanted to improve on the design of the prosthetics he'd been using since he lost part of his right arm in an ambush. Kuniholm and his colleagues founded the Open Prosthetics Project, an open-source collaboration that shares its innovations freely.
Advances in military medicine mean that more soldiers are surviving on the battlefieled, but many are coming home with missing limbs. When they come home, those soldiers turn to Colonel Paul Pasquina, medical director of the amputee program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the latest in in prosthetics.