Saturday, March 17, 2007

Perspective: Returning troops face a battle for medical care

Sgt. Joe Baumann's physical injuries -- from a sniper shot to the gut in Iraq in 2005 -- are clear. He walks with a cane. He suffers chronic abdominal and back pain. He can't sit or stand for more than 30 minutes at a time.

But his flashbacks, his troubles with concentration and memory retention, his anger-management problems -- all symptoms of disabling post-traumatic stress disorder, Baumann says -- aren't nearly as obvious. Proving them to the U.S. Army has been an exercise in near-constant frustration.

Baumann, 22, a Rohnert Park man who serves with the California National Guard, has endured multiple rounds of physical exams and appointments with doctors who he says were rude and demeaning. He sought the aid of a lawyer to help him untangle the knot of Army health care bureaucracy.

Read the rest at the SF Chronicle