Much national media attention has focused on the traumatic amputees from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts. However, we know little about the long-term outcomes of traumatic amputees arising from war. In 2006, the Department of Defense funded a partnership between Indiana University and Ohio State University to create the Indiana-Ohio Center for Traumatic Amputation Rehabilitation Research.
Our initial study explored the experiences of Vietnam War veterans, most of whom have lived with their amputations for more than 40 years. Investigating the health needs of Vietnam veterans with combat-related amputations helped us to better understand the special needs of these veterans so that we can aid the rehabilitation of traumatic amputees from present and future conflicts.
The purpose of gathering contact information was to create a databank with as many responding veterans as possible. To ensure maximum enrollment in the study, study enrollment was open for five years. Information collected will continue to inform studies of of long-term health outcomes in relation to traumatic amputations. This investigative study allowed researchers to identify the unique rehabilitation needs of military personnel.
It is my honor to wholeheartedly endorse this study. I spent nine years taking care of orthopedic casualties, many of whom were amputees from the Vietnam War. We did the best we could with the information we had back then. Unfortunately, today we do not know much more about the life-long needs of amputees than we did during the Vietnam era. This study will help ensure we rectify the shortcomings of the past and amputees from this and future wars receive better care in regards to their needs later in life. I am a member of the Advisory Board for this study and am dedicated to its goals.