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Archive for the ‘Human Performance’ Category

Soldier’s Injury Spurs Malpractice Claims Policy Changes

Saturday, June 8th, 2024

An Army family’s five-year struggle and advocacy efforts led to major changes in how the Department of Defense considers non-economic payments in medical malpractice claims filed by active-duty service members.

The changes, published May 10 in the Federal Register, say that potential financial damages in medical malpractice claims will no longer be offset or reduced by the compensation otherwise provided by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs. This change will ensure that families receive full compensation for pain and suffering.

“It wasn’t until the family brought this issue to the forefront that we were able to advocate on behalf of the entire military to remove the offset,” said Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. “Pfc. Del Barba and his family deserve the credit for bringing attention to this issue.”

The case began when Pfc. Dez Del Barba, of California, reported to what is now Fort Moore, Georgia, for basic training in January 2019 in preparation for attending Army Officer Candidate School. That February, he became ill and over the course of a week his symptoms worsened.

After numerous visits to sick call, Del Barba was transported to a Columbus, Georgia hospital, where he was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, a form of a flesh-eating infection linked to a Strep A infection.

The Army had earlier received a positive test result for Del Barba’s Strep A infection but had not acted on it.

Placed in a medically induced coma, Del Barba was given a 10% chance of survival. As the infection ravaged his legs and torso, he underwent repeated surgeries in Columbus and at the burn unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital to remove skin or tissue.

His left leg was amputated as the infection spread.

“What happened to me did not have to happen. This was preventable,” Del Barba told a Congressional subcommittee.

The Army is currently reviewing Del Barba’s medical malpractice claim.

“My life has changed forever. That once active and healthy 21-year-old man now must deal with a lifetime of challenges and obstacles because of the neglect I suffered,” he said.

“The last five years our family has worked tirelessly not just for our son … but for countless servicemen and women who have been grossly mistreated by the department due to military medical malpractice. This long-overdue change will finally bring some accountability to those responsible for their inexcusable actions. Our nation’s Servicemen and Women, our heroes, deserve better medical care,” the Del Barba family said in an emailed statement.

The DoD policy change also clarifies that future lost earnings may be awarded until the time DoD determines that the claimant is, or is expected to be, medically rehabilitated and able to resume employment.

“In addition to Pfc. Del Barba’s resilience and focus on his own recovery, the most remarkable aspect of his story is how he championed this change for all service members,” explained Secretary Wormuth.

Del Barba’s mother says he earned his bachelor’s degree in business management but cannot and likely will never be able to work.

“There are moments when we may think wecannot, until we change our mindset to say we can. I feel grief for all I have lost, but I am grateful for all that I have. We must stand firm, honor the sacrifices of our heroes, and fight for justice,” Del Barba said in an emailed statement.

The family wants more attention paid to the risk of necrotizing fasciitis, and May 31 is Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Day, with a focus on the impact of the disease.

The Del Barba family has also formed a nonprofit, called Operation Dez Strong, to assist children ages 4 through 18 who face or have had an amputation and need assistance in acquiring and adapting to prosthetic devices.

By Jonathan Austin, Army News Service

10th SFG(A) Invites Warriors Heart to Discuss Matters Held Close to an Operator’s Chest

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) invited speakers from Warriors Heart to speak candidly about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the Norris Penrose Event Center Dec. 9, 2021.

Warriors Heart is a treatment center in Bandera, Texas, which provides inpatient care to active-duty service members, veterans and first responders for chemical dependency, alcohol abuse and psychological disorders related to PTSD or mild TBI.

The event was put on by Trojan Legacy—a 10th SFG(A) program that promotes resiliency, recovery and respect within the unit—to help shed light on what undiagnosed PTSD and TBI can look like and lead afflicted Soldiers to medical treatment.

“I almost killed myself,” said Tom Spooner, Warriors Heart co-founder and retired Delta Force Operator. “‘How do I get this noise to stop?’ I was getting lost all the time; I wouldn’t know where I was when I was driving down the road. I just kept going…I had damage to the decision-making part of my brain that I didn’t know of.”

In 2006, Spooner experienced his third mass-casualty event and suffered a traumatic brain injury from an exploded mortar round while deployed which ultimately resulted in an incident where he used the military decision making process (MDMP) to plan his suicide.

“What’s going to stop this noise?,” he continued. “I started going through MDMP on utilizing my Glock and putting a bullet in my brain to stop the noise as a valid course of action. I was doing constraints, limitations, other courses of action, second and third order effects.”

Throughout Spooner’s 21 years of service, he volunteered for Airborne duty, Special Forces and Delta Force.

“Volunteers can’t complain,” he said. “The [Special Forces] selection process guarantees a lot of things. Up front, selection guarantees I will never quit…and I have never asked for help. The selection process guarantees I will not ask for help, and I only do it when I’m off the road.”

Nevertheless, Spooner had a buddy whom he confided in about what was going on in his mind as he veered off course.

“He was my everything guy,” Spooner said. “I would always tell him the truth. He stayed on me, stayed on me and stayed on me. He told me to get help. I had undiagnosed TBI, unprocessed trauma, PTSD and grief going on.”

Spooner finally sought treatment and received cognitive, psychological and vestibular therapy in conjunction with medication. Through medical testing, Spooner found that he was operating at a processing speed of 50 percent and had verbal memory of 50 percent.

“How could I honor the guys who sacrificed their lives,” he said. “Me wrecking my family and my military career is dishonoring them.”
Along with a keen sense of honor, Spooner has a keen sense of regret which, in fact, prompted him to volunteer for Delta Force assessment and selection after serving with 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) for six years.

“There are things in life worse than death, and that’s regret,” he said. “Not having those hard conversations with people I care about. I could’ve said something but I didn’t because I thought it’d jam up my relationship. I don’t know if it would’ve changed the circumstances…but it’s one of my greatest regrets in life.”

Spooner’s own experiences acted as a looking glass as to how TBI and PTSD can manifest.

“If you have a buddy and you’re seeing these same things going on, you can talk to them and refer them to treatment,” said Sgt. Maj. Doug Lane, 10th SFG(A) Trojan Legacy senior enlisted adviser. “We want to create that peer-to-peer network and have candid conversations with our friends to ensure that if there are these issues, we steer them to the right resources.”

Story by SSGAnthony Bryant, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

CardoMax Veteran Giveback

Friday, November 12th, 2021

To help celebrate Veterans Day this year, CardoMax is on a mission to raise $10k to be donated to Black Rifle Coffee Fund to support Veteran Small Businesses. 

From 8-12 November, CardoMax will donate $5 from EVERY order to BRCC Fund. CardoMax offers 4 different types of liquid supplements; Energy, Hydration, Immune Booster & Recovery. All are liquid concentrations that are sugar and dye-free, which are designed to be mixed with 20oz of water. These convenient little packets are perfect for travel, people on the go and those just looking for a high-quality supplement.

“Since January 2021, we have shipped nearly 25k orders and this is our chance to giveback to our fellow veteran small businesses.” Said Sean Matson, Co-Founder & CEO of CardoMax

To support their goal, shop here: www.cardomax.com