Health

Class action launched against Ste-Anne’s Hospital
Military Health Matters

Class action launched against Ste-Anne’s Hospital

Quebec Superior Court approved a class action on Feb. 20, which seeks compensation for alleged deterioration in service to veterans in Ste-Anne’s Hospital in the three years since it was transferred to provincial control. The suit was launched by Second World War veteran Wolf William Solkin, a resident of the hospital since 2013, on behalf of the more than 150 veterans in long-term care at Ste-Anne’s Hospital, and the families of some 150 veterans who have died since the transfer. Solkin represents veterans on the province’s hospital committee and is editor of the veterans’ newsletter. “Class members are elderly, in poor health and vulnerable, and therefore unlikely to voice their complaints by fear of retribution by the institution,” say the documents filed in court. Solkin sought law...
At what price?
Health, Military Health Matters

At what price?

– Illustration by Robert Carter – Five years after the Canadian military lowered the flag for the last time in Afghanistan, the first war in which post-traumatic stress injury was recognized as a war wound, it seems impossible to determine how much the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental-health conditions have added to the cost of the war. The sum of mental-health damage in human terms—of lives lost through suicide, potential lost, marriages and childhoods irrevocably damaged—can’t be calculated, except to say the toll has been astronomical on affected veterans and their families. And neither does it seem possible to fix a financial price tag for what has already been paid or a final tally, because some costs will continue decades into the future. Medi...
Homeless veterans project takes shape
Health, Military Health Matters

Homeless veterans project takes shape

If all goes as planned, sometime in August, ground will be broken for a project that will not only provide stable, supportive housing for homeless veterans in Ottawa, but serve as a template that can be copied elsewhere. “We know it’s needed not just here; it’s needed across the country,” said Suzanne Le, executive director of the Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI), which is building the 40-unit supportive housing project on former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe in Ottawa. The project is the result of a harmonic convergence in 2013: a municipal forum on homeless veterans, followed by solicitation of ideas from the community for a commemorative project to include in the redevelopment of the airbase. Instead of erecting a statue or naming a road or building in honour of veterans, MHI ...
Preventing broken bones
Health

Preventing broken bones

The Canadian Armed Forces takes broken bones very seriously indeed. Personnel suffered more than 4,200 fractures in 2014-16, an examination of military and civilian medical records revealed. Annually over the period, fractures resulted in 34,000 to 81,000 workdays lost, $12.5 million to $30 million in wages lost, and an average cost of $5.6 million in medical care. Fractures reduce troop strength and threaten individual careers through increased risk of second fractures, development of a disability and medical release, it was reported at the 2018 Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Regina.  “Research shows that 80 per cent to 95 per cent of all injuries are preventable,” says the CAF booklet Injury Reduction Strategies for Sports and Physical Activit...
Bionic arms
Military Health Matters

Bionic arms

Artificial limbs that perform like the real thing are moving from the realm of science fiction into real life, thanks to pioneering scientists and amputees—and a financial boost from the military   “It’s amazing,” says Larry Hayes-Richards as he watches the fingers flex on his bionic arm, a feat he’s achieved by just thinking about it. The 72-year-old veteran from Sherwood Park, Alta., is a Canadian pioneer in the use of myoelectric arm prostheses. He is in the Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC) Lab at the University of Alberta in Edmonton where prosthetist Mike Stobbe and physician Jacqueline Hebert are refitting the socket of his prosthetic arm. What’s amazing is how far the science has come since his right arm was amputated in 2005. He has moved from a pros...
The toll on a sniper’s brain
Health, Military Health Matters

The toll on a sniper’s brain

The headaches, sleep problems, visual disturbances, balance problems, dizziness, ringing in the ears and memory lapses are symptoms familiar to troops who use explosives to gain access to military targets—or blow them up to eliminate the threat from bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs). They call it breachers’ brain, and it has been shown to be the result of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly called a concussion, caused by exposure to blast waves. In athletes, concussions are usually caused by head trauma—hockey’s hard body checks, football’s tackles or the spills experienced by cyclists and skiers. But what was going on when Special Operations Force members started reporting concussion-like symptoms, even when not exposed to explosions or head trauma? The Departmen...
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