Monday, May 28, 2007

Perspective: The war, seen from Ward 57

Army doctor Brandon Goff's never been to war. War comes to him.

Goff, a major, has spent this war in Wards 57 and 58 of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where as director of patient rehabilitation he treats soldiers who've suffered amputations, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. At 35, he's an unintended historian of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He knows that improvised explosives in Iraq are bigger now because he's seeing more patients with both legs blown off above the knee, not just one below the knee. He thinks that insurgents first acquired especially lethal explosives last spring, because that's when he saw his first patient who'd been wounded in such an attack. And he thinks that brain trauma from explosions could be the cause of the abnormal bone growths that soldiers wounded in this war have around their amputated limbs. The phenomenon didn't exist in previous wars.

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee