Taking Lessons from the Yanks

Too reminiscent of the treatment of US soldiers at Walter Reed … It seems to us that Tony Blair’s government has taken far too many lessons from this corrupt BushCo adminicorporation. We thought the Europeans were brighter than that.

Military ‘betrayed wounded soldiers’
By Alex Berry
Last Updated: 5:44pm GMT 11/03/2007

The military’s most senior doctor pledged to improve the standard of care for wounded service personnel after the publication of a series of complaints about their treatment by the NHS.

Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite, the Surgeon General, defended the way casualties were looked after but said: “If we need to do things better, we shall.”

His statement came after leaked complaints from soldiers and their families graphically described the dire state they were left in after being injured while serving their country.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said their treatment represented a “betrayal” while Lord Guthrie, the former defence staff chief, told one Sunday newspaper: “The handling of the medical casualties from both Afghanistan and Iraq is a scandal.”

The complaints, leaked to the newspaper by military sources, centre on Birmingham’s Selly Oak hospital, where many injured soldiers are now treated following the closure of almost all separate military units.

One reveals how Jamie Cooper, the youngest British soldier wounded in Iraq, spent a night lying in his own faeces after staff allowed his colostomy bag to overflow.

On another occasion, according to the letter from the 18-year-old’s parents, his medical air mattress was allowed to deflate, leaving him in “considerable pain”. He also contracted the superbug MRSA.

Phillip and Caroline Cooper, from Bristol, wrote to Ministry of Defence officials and hospital managers to complain after he had spent more than two months at Selly Oak.

The letter told how their son had been wounded in a double mortar attack and it was only “by the grace of God and the work of an excellent surgeon” that his life had been saved – but there followed a “catalogue of errors”.

In separate correspondence Alex Weldon of 45 Commando Royal Marines complained of pain relief arriving hours late. The marine, who was shot in Afghanistan, described seeing a fellow casualty from Afghanistan in such agony on the ward that it “brought tears to his eyes”.

Dr Fox accused the Government of “an act of betrayal against our bravest soldiers”.

He said some NHS treatment “falls well below the levels our armed forces have the right to expect”.

Read the rest here.

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