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 reported David Wood talks with Fresh Air about the hurdles facing these troops and their families.
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.
Dr. Chester Buckenmaier is chief of the Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management Initiative at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is developing a procedure known as regional anesthesia, to manage the severe pain that many wounded soldiers experience. Buckenmaier spent time in Iraq working in a battlefield hospital, where he pioneered the technique, and is using it at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Writer and Vietnam veteran Lewis Puller's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, "Fortunate Son," is now out in paperback. His father, Chesty Puller, was a famous Marine. Lewis also joined the Marines in 1967, and was badly wounded in Vietnam.
The Army Major was one of few women held P.O.W. during the Gulf War. She's a physician and was on a search-and-rescue mission when the helicopter she was in was shot down by Iraqis. Five crew members were killed in the crash. Cornum and three others survived and were immediately taken prisoner by Iraqi soldiers. Cornum broke both arms and was sexually molested by one of her captors.