Implication was incorrect

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I wish to express my concern over the front-page headline in the March 13 Augusta Chronicle, which stated under the banner “Afghanistan Shootings”: “Suspect suffered injury to head.” This scurrilous statement, true or not, leaves the distinct impression that a head injury of any type leads to criminal violence.


First, the anonymous source of this unsubstantiated medical information about a head injury is violating the privacy of the suspect and is setting a precedent that is totally lacking in credibility. There is no evidence that this possible head injury is related in any way to the violent events that followed.

This information plants the message that the signature injury of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, namely traumatic brain injuries from improvised explosive devices, leads to violence. There is no such evidence to support this statement, but journalists did not check the facts about the long-term effects of various types of traumatic brain injuries. But jumping to unfounded conclusions makes for interesting headlines, I guess.

Even more distressing is the dishonor you bring to the thousands of soldiers and Marines who have served honorably and sustained traumatic brain injuries and who return to duty or their civilian lives without any indication they are dangerous to anyone.

It seems that as the public understandably grows weary of this long period of conflict and we enter an election year, the media in particular and manipulators of political expediency raise speculation that our servicemen and women with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder are dangerous. The deaths of civilians in Afghanistan are indeed a horrible tragedy and the suspect, if guilty, must answer for this crime. But this is not a reason for the media to make unfounded and sinister statements that indict our wounded warriors.

I am a board-certified neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist, and I proudly served as a physician in the U.S. military in the Vietnam era, and was witness then to the same type of invective that was loaded on our veterans. It is now my honor and privilege as a civilian to serve and care for our soldiers. In their time of need, I have their backs and will protect then from unfounded accusations.

This type of reporting does them a disservice, and they deserve our thanks for their honorable service. Please – before information is published about this story or any story about our soldiers, check the facts. There are very well-informed professionals who can help you do your job properly.

Patrick L. Lillard, M.D.

Evans

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burninater
11068
Points
burninater 03/19/12 - 12:36 am
3
0
http://www.neurology.org/cont

http://www.neurology.org/content/46/5/1231.abstract

http://main.uab.edu/tbi/show.asp?durki=50770#Noncompliance

http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=101784

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02699050601049312

http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/1554303/reload=0;jsessionid=28SBI18ZoMS3...

There are many more studies than these few. I appreciate the author's desire to fight the impression that all TBIs produce aggressive or violent behavior, but I would be curious what the basis is for his statement that no evidence exists connecting TBIs to incidences of subsequent aggression or violence.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 03/19/12 - 07:40 am
3
1
I wonder if the good Doctor

I wonder if the good Doctor with his well intentioned letter is in fact keeping abreast of his profession?

Please feel free to contact me through this board-or you can call Sean Moores at the Chronicle for my number and we can speak of my personal journey and recovery from TBI.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/19/12 - 08:12 am
1
1
It appears to me that that

It appears to me that that Dr. Lillard is inferring something that isn't there. There is no implication that all soldiers who suffer a head injury will murder people. The good Doctor is projecting. In my opinion his outrage is misplaced.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/19/12 - 08:35 am
0
0
Bruno- did you not read the

Bruno- did you not read the letter?

"There is no evidence that this possible head injury is related in any way to the violent events that followed."

"Even more distressing is the dishonor you bring to the thousands of soldiers and Marines who have served honorably and sustained traumatic brain injuries and who return to duty or their civilian lives without any indication they are dangerous to anyone."

Who is projecting anything?

peace4784
154
Points
peace4784 03/19/12 - 09:39 am
0
0
Why can't the soldier be
Unpublished

Why can't the soldier be called a cold-blooded, murdering terrorist. The United States is the most violent society in the civilized world. Violence predominates our entertainment. There was a recent, extremely violent war video game that sold over 1 billion copies. Why act surprised by this atrocity? Why kid ourselves. Why try to rationalize the obvious. He is a cold blooded murderer. The dead bodies prove this fact. We are not as righteous as we like to believe.

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