The President addressed the scandal of the military healthcare system for disabled combat casualties. He appointed Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health, and Bob Dole, former senator and disabled war veteran, to head a taskforce. CBS' David Martin called the hospital system "overwhelmed by the complexity of today's battlefield injuries, particularly Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." Some 31,000 casualties have come from battle in the army alone. Martin called the taskforce's job "a massive undertaking."
On ABC, TBI patient Bob Woodruff showed off the sheaf of e-mail messages he has received from fellow casualties complaining of therapy failures at local VA hospitals after initial first-rate trauma care. His reporting is especially poignant since he has not fully recovered his diction. Some misplaced emphasis and slight slurring--"We busy, so busy, for the past couple of weeks"--add power to his crusading insistence on more federal resources: "This has to begin to change."
NBC's Lisa Myers remained focused on the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that triggered the wider story. She traced the poor upkeep of the hospital's out-patient quarters to the army's decision last year to outsource maintenance: 350 unionized federal workers were replaced by 100 privately employed. The contractor, International American Products, was the same firm that failed to deliver ice properly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
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