Iraq injuries:

The Iraqi insurgents’ frequent use of improvised explosive devices has made traumatic brain injury the most characteristic lasting wound of this war. Its effects can range from a debilitating level of cognitive malfunction in the worst cases to depression, anger, and confusion in less severe ones. The nation must mobilise all its resources to treat victims of these injuries — even if that means using hospitals outside the military and Department of Veterans Affairs system.

But the military and the VA have resisted authorising use of facilities, such as the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, that have extensive experience treating patients with

head injuries. If the government continues to deny veterans or service members this option, Congress should mandate that the injured have the right to the best care and the highest quality of service possible.

But often the best way to provide that care is not at VA polytrauma centres that have their hands full with veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, but by working with Spaulding and similar hospitals. Injured troops and veterans deserve the best treatment the nation can deliver, not just what the VA offers. Congress must ensure that they get this care, and that the Defence Department and Veterans

Affairs get the money to pay for it. — The Boston Globe