Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hospital in Britain reports more soldiers became amputees in 2009 than in any year since WWII

From The Express in the UK:

A hospital revealed Dec. 24 how it had treated more British soldiers suffering lost limbs in the past 12 months than in any other year since the Second World War.

Since January, more than 150 troops have been flown to the Selly Oak Hospital (pictured), in Birmingham, UK, from Afghanistan with “very serious” or “serious” wounds.

The figure is more than double the number treated there in the previous two years.

Jane Mason, 32, a senior physiotherapist, said: “The numbers and complexity of injuries have gone up massively over the three or four months of the summer and that has stretched us. I would say it was the most challenging year, but also the most rewarding.

“Because there are so many more injuries from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and people on foot, we are getting many more amputees and a lot more both leg amputations.”

The hospital came in for criticism two years ago but has improved facilities since then and is preparing to move into a new multi-millionpound building next summer.

Miss Mason said: “I guess I would have to say if we had more funding for more staff, funding for more equipment coming from the very top to us on the ground, then it would help. But it’s not as simple as that really.

“We find the staffing, the equipment that we’ve got is fine. But you could always have more staff, you could have infinite amounts.”

More than 20 soldiers will remain in Selly Oak hospital (pictured) over the Christmas period but a massive outpouring of public generosity has meant they have been swamped with gifts. Major Ian Cheesman, the officer in charge of patient support services at Selly Oak, said: “We’ve asked people not to bring in presents because we have literally been inundated.”

He said the perception of the hospital had become more positive since 2007, saying: “As we have got busier we have added resources and the service we now provide is pretty much Rolls-Royce. We are not complacent but we are very proud of what we do for our guys – this really is the best place for them to come.”