Is PSTD A War Wound?

The Pentagon has decided not to award the Purple Heart to soldiers who were mentally wounded in fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Purple Heart is awarded to “those individuals wounded to a degree that requires treatment by a medical officer, in action with the enemy or as a result of enemy action where the intended effect of a specific enemy action is to kill or injure the service member.” The Army believes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder did not arise due to enemy action. Is it an illness or is it a wound from enemy action? John Fortunato of the Ft. Bliss Treatment Center has been arguing it is a wound noting, “these guys have paid at least as high a price, some of them, as anybody with a traumatic brain injury, as anybody with a shrapnel wound.”

Those returning from war zones in Iraq or Afghanistan have been wounded in such ways as many will never be the same human as they were prior to being sent overseas. Why isn’t a wounded mind as much a wound as a wounded part of the body?

  • http://parasitesofthemind.blogspot.com Michele Rosenthal

    Great last line! Isn’t that the question, indeed? If the bloody, scarred wounds of the mind were VISIBLE, they might actually get the attention they deserve.

    Another disturbing fact: in the military system, only those who have received medals of honor qualify for a PTSD diagnosis. So the cycle spins round and round while our veterans (1 in 5 returning vets with diagnosed PTSD cases) don’t get the support they need.

    Luckily, there are those of us trying to help outside the system. As a trauma and PTSD victim who has now completely healed, I run a free healing PTSD workshop (http://parasitesofthemind.blogspot.com) for the entire PTSD community, that includes veterans and civilians.

    In our traumas we are all individual, but our PTSD experience is universal. We can all heal if we join together. It IS possible to bridge the gap between PTSD and a joyful life.

  • DUANE B FISH

    US ARMY RETIRED 29 YRS . WHEN I WAS IN IRAQ I GOT PTSD I ALSO CUT MY CHEST WITH BARB WIRE SCARS ALL OVER MY BODY. EVERYTHING IS ON RECORD AT THE ALBANY VA HOSPITAL NEW YORK. I DO BELIVE THAT SOLDIERS WITH PTSD SHOULD RECEIVE THE PURPLE HEART. WHO COULD I WRITE TO ABOUT THIS. FOR ME LIFE IS ON A 24/7 WATCH EVERY DAY. WE SUFFER JUST AS MUCH AS SOMEONE WHO LOST HIS LEG MAYBE MORE. THIS IS VERY WRONG . LET’S GIVE OUR SOLDIERS WITH PTSD THE PURPLE HEART AND MAKE IT RIGHT. SSG DUANE FISH.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    I agree one thousand percent with your comment.

  • DUANE B FISH

    ALSO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE AGE LAW . MEN AND WOMEN FROM AGE 17 18 19 20 . WE ARE NOT ADULTS IN THE EYS OF OUR LEADERS. BUT WE CAN BE HANDED A RIFLE PUT IN HARMS WAY TO GET KILLED . THE GOV THEN SHOULD NEVER SEND ANYONE INTO HARMS WAY UNTIL WE ARE 21 YEARS OF AGE.

  • Frank Partel

    Please see my novel on this subject. Valorous. Sympathetic. Authentic. A Wound in the Mind, The Court-Martial of Lance Corporal Cachora, USMC. Wound will touch. You may never forget it.