Traumatic Brain Injury: A Full Measure investigation

Here’s the print writeup of my cover story investigation into a tragic example of veterans left untreated for their Traumatic Brain Injury. It links to the video investigation and transcript as well.

Millions of military veterans get their medical care through the Veterans Administration or VA. You’ve probably heard over the years about systemic problems in the VA system that have caused scandals led to calls for reforms.

I recently dug into one issue brought to light by a VA whistleblower named James DeNofrio.

DeNofrio, an Army vet, worked as an administrator at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He told me he was shocked to discover in 2013 a long list of vets with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) who were languishing on a list without a treatment plan.

“There were, I believe, 600 patients on that list,” DeNofrio told me. “Out of that 600, as I drilled down, six had committed suicide, one veteran had gone and shot up a local Subway,” shooting three people.

The vet who “shot up” the Subway restaurant was named Nick Horner. I did a little research and learned that Horner was convicted of murder for the crime, and was serving time in prison. But, as DeNofrio indicated, there was a lot more to Horner’s story.

Read the rest of the story at the link, and watch the video!

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5 thoughts on “Traumatic Brain Injury: A Full Measure investigation”

  1. Terrific piece, as far as it goes. The next step is to look at how the VA neglects treating and healing brain wounds — TBI/PTSD/Concussion — and what can be done today. TreatNOW: A Coalition of Veterans and citizens working pro bono to end the suicide epidemic and heal undiagnosed and untreated brain wounds

    1. We face an epidemic of suicide, and brain-related wounds afflicting service members’ mental and physical health. Millions of civilians, athletes, fire, rescue, first responders are also affected. The Concussion/CTE crisis is trickling down to high schools.
    2. Reports released this year by the military paint a dismal picture. In 2018, active duty Army suicides reached a five-year high; suicide among active-duty Marines reached an almost 10-year high; active-duty Navy suicides hit a record high. Sexual assault in the military also reached a four-year high in 2018.
    5. Business as usual affects over 800,000 post-9/11 wounded [and an equal number of Vietnam veterans] and their families while BILLIONS of $$$ are expended on drugs and ineffective psychological and other unproven interventions. Research with new drugs, psychotropics, hallucinogenic, and psychedelic continues.
    6. The cost to the wounded: interminable wait times, mis-diagnoses, drugs and semi-permanent welfare status, families in crises, wives with secondary TBI/PTSD, degraded quality of life.
    7. The cost to the nation: 21+ suicides a day, hollowing out of Special Operations forces, $60,000 cost/per year for each untreated brain injury, and corrosive effects of wounded who are told: “There is no treatment to help you, only psychopharmacology and cognitive psychotherapy.” The NFL and the NCAA brag of a Protocol that does nothing to heal the wound to the brain. As with DoD/VA/Army, it is all about “watchful waiting,” rest, reaching milestones and hoping symptoms go away.
    8. Yet an active treatment does exist: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy when used by the TreatNOW Coalition and multiple clinics across the US and world. We have peer-reviewed positive scientific and clinical evidence in over 6,100 cases in 90+ clinics in 32 states that HBOT helps heal wounded brains and returns patients to a life denied them by DOD/VA/Army that will not talk about, or even use or pay for HBOT treatment for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion.

    These videos give more insight into successes and science:

    Joe Namath, football
    MSGT Scott Roessler/Ranger
    GnySgt Rotenberry & wife
    MAJ Ben Richards
    CAPT Smotherman/Rep John Bennett
    The Honorable Patt Maney (BG, USA)
    Dr. Daphne Denham on Concussion
    Dave Rogers/Navy SEAL

    The TreatNOW Mission is to immediately and urgently identify and treat veterans and others suffering from Concussion/TBI/PTSD, and to alleviate pain and withdrawal symptoms for substance abusers. The TreatNOW Goal is to ensure that over 800,000 Iraq and Afghanistan brain injured veterans and active duty service members, along with all citizens, get insured access to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other proven alternative medical treatments for their Invisible Wounds. TreatNOW has had dramatic, life-altering success returning each of the fully-treated patients to a quality of life far beyond what they could receive from traditional or DOD medicine. A significant number were returned to active military duty. Neither service members or athletes or citizens have to settle for a “new normal” along with a life of addictive dependence on prescribed drugs that come with warnings against suicidal risk. This is not the Quality of Life they deserve nor what safe and effective evidence-based medicine can provide for them.

  2. I have recently run across a couple of claims about an vaccine for malaria given to military personnel that may cause symptoms like PTSD.
    Also – the burn pits that are causing lung disease and death for personnel.
    Do you know anything about these subjects?

    1. A bit. I first learned about vaccine adverse events and links to autism years ago when CBS News assigned me to cover vaccine adverse events in the military. It is truly a rabbit hole. In many vaccine injured vets (there’s an entire ward at Walter Reed that only treats military vaccine injuries) it has been known to create brain issues, something that looks like autism in adults, possibly M.S., various neurodisorders, autoimmune issues etc. I do not know about the burn pits.

  3. i was in a car accident in 1982, head injury / skull fracture , now called TBI. I have had anger issues ever since. head aches. neck pain. have to beg for treatment. have filed for disability 2 times. turned down.

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