Dr. James Kelly on Culture Change: How Brain Injuries Are Handled in the Military

From the top medical and non-medical command down, brain injuries must be taken seriously in the military.

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The leadership--the non-medical leadership-- has been very concerned for quite some time about sending individuals off to war and having them come back different in this way and wants to change that as best they can and has pushed for this particular approach, such that it means the line leadership, all the way down to the platoon level, is now saying, "You will do this; you're not waiting for the corpsman or medic to say, 'Hey, come here, I want to examine you; I think you've got a problem.'" This is expected all the way up and down that chain of command by the soldiers and marines in this kind of a war setting, so that that culture of expectation of checking each other out is coming from the non-medical people. It's a completely different way of looking at things than had before. So the medical people before were saying, "Will you please tell us honestly what's going on? We're trying to help you. We can't do it unless you participate in this." There's a different expectation now that we're hoping is really going to diminish stigma associated with raising your hand and saying, "I've got a problem," and will, in an earlier sense, allow us to intervene. It will allow for the detection of the problem, an earlier diagnosis, and the intervention. So I think that the entire process for an individual who is injured will be improved right from the beginning.
Posted on BrainLine October 20, 2010.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Brian King, BrainLine.