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War of Disabilities: HBO's Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq Tells the Stories


Penetrating wounds from improvised explosive devices (IED) create unique patterns of injuries that are challenges for clinicians and rehabilitation professionals. An upward oblique trajectory through the neck region, coupled with chest wall and lung contusions is often seen. Extremity injuries present with extensive comminuted fractures and traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to combat appears to be associated with increased cerebral edema as compared with civilian TBI.

IED's are easily assembled from agricultural and medical supplies. Activated by remote control, they combine blast, fragmentation and armor penetration. Often grouped as "daisy chains ", inflicting damage on the underside of multiple military patrol vehicles and, using time delay, the rescue teams as they rush to help the wounded. IED's then, are an illusive battlefield threat generating deadly blast effect injuries. A wavefront of high pressure spreads out at1600 feet per second from the point of explosions, propelling shrapnel at high velocity. Ballistic trauma injuries, or penetrating brain injuries, are treated conventionally. But blast waves cause invisible brain damage, smashing the soft brain tissues against the hard inner skull. Neither helmets nor body armor can protect against the forces of high pressure wave blasts which can result in loss of consciousness, severe concussion, blindness and other neurological deficits.
1800 US troops are suffering from TBI due to penetrating head injuries but there are concerns that there may be many more suffering TBI due to blast waves from TBI. TBI has become "the signature wound of troops returning from Iraq".

Military records indicate that 60% of military injuries are due to IED's or roadside bombs. According to Defense Update International, Online Defense Magazine, the Iraq war, now in its fifth year, is not a war of death but a war of disabilities. David Eschel states the symbol of the war is not the cemetery, but "...the orthopedic ward, the neurosurgical unit..." Executive Producer James Gandolfini looks at a new generation of war wounded in his upcoming HBO feature documentary, Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq. The film premieres September 9, 2007 at 10:30 PM and can be streamed beginning Sunday 9/9/07 at 111:30 PM EST through 9/16/07 at 10:30 PM.

Thank you, Google images and mindhacks.com for use of image of Iraq IED.
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