Veterans to City Council: Brain injury treatment delays can’t continue

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(From left) Councilmen Squilla; Oh; Taubenberger; Domb; and Green listen to testimony at hearing (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

(From left) Councilmen Squilla; Oh; Taubenberger; Domb; and Green listen to testimony at hearing (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Council held a hearing on how veterans with traumatic brain injuries are receiving care.

Dr. Douglas Smith of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania says Traumatic Brain Injury isn’t something that is taught in medical school, even now.  He says military veterans are more and more coming home from service with the problem.

“A large number show up at the [Department of Veterans Affairs] polytrauma units with continuing complaints so that 15 to 20 percent of all exposed have something that has changed in their brain forever,” Smith said.

Scott Brown, Director of the Philadelphia Veterans Advisory Commission says the VA is promising those requesting an evaluation will get one in 18 days, but not delivering.

“We are seeing more and more TBI’s and I called this morning to get an appointment for a veteran for his TBI evaluation and was given March 10th for his TBI evaluation, that’s not 18.1 days,” he said.

The VA did not participate in the hearing.  

City Councilman David Oh, who called for the hearing, promised to relay the testimony to federal officials and see what can be done from there.

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