Soldiers With Brain Trauma Denied Purple Hearts
Posted by andersonhsstudent on October 20, 2012
Should Purple Hearts be given to soldiers that suffer traumatic brain injuries alongside of soldiers receiving them for undergoing a physical injury? The guidelines from the U.S. Department of Defense states that the criteria for the Purple Heart award is that the injury must have been caused by enemy action or in action against the enemy and has to be of a degree requiring treatment by a medical officer. But many times, it is difficult to know if a concussion or mild brain injury needs to be addressed immediately when not resulting in loss of consciousness. Therefore, many soldiers are not aware of the long term damage of the injuries they suffer and do not consult a medic and instead continue selflessly fighting for our country. Also, according to National Public Radio (NPR), even soldiers meeting qualifications to be eligible for the medal are often times denied to receive it. While some think the guidelines for receiving a Purple Heart need to be revised to consider those who experience brain injuries, others think these awards need to be specifically for those severely wounded or killed in combat.
The denial of Purple Hearts to soldiers is not an entirely new issue, as soldiers have been struggling to receive their rightful recognition for many years. I am definitely biased towards allowing all types of injuries while at war to receive Purple Hearts because I have a personal connection to someone who has suffered an injury and am aware of how much their Purple Heart medal means to them and therefore wish that every injured veteran could receive one. Below is a video clip of Congress member Chellie Pingree speaking up for soldiers who have been denied their rightful Purple Heart:
In 2010, some Army commanders refused to award the Purple Heart to many troops who got concussions in combat because they didn’t consider these “real” injuries. As a result of our story, the Army did its own investigation and put out new guidelines on Purple Hearts. Last week, the Army told NPR that under the new rules, they’ve finally awarded the medal to almost 1,000 soldiers, including Michelle Dyarman, whom we profiled in our original 2010 reports.