Dr. Zitnay’s Response
Dr. Zitnay wrote this letter to the editor of the Washington Times on August 20, 2006.
Helping brain-injured veterans
I wish to thank The Washington Times for supporting the Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center (“Brain-dead appropriations,” Editorial, Thursday) and, more importantly, our troops who suffer brain injuries on behalf of our country.
I am the co-founder of the Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center and I wish to correct a statement made by a member of the staff of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee regarding appropriations. First, I made the funding request in testimony and also visited the offices of Sens. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, and Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, as well as the staff director for defense appropriations. In addition, the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force had more than 33 members sign a letter requesting and supporting appropriations for the Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center.
Finally, I provided information on the number of troops suffering brain injury as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan. I also spoke of brain injury as the signature injury of the war on terrorism. I spoke about the effect of blast injury on the brain and asked for a $12 million increase for a total of $19 million. Since there is no cure for a brain injury and since it impacts the entire family of the injured, our soldiers need specialized neuro-rehabilitation and support often for the rest of their lives. Supporting injured soldiers is not a partisan issue; it is our duty to treat injured soldiers.
Dr. George A. Zitnay
Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center