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Returning and Wounded Veterans

An August 2011 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that as many as 20 percent of soldiers returning from war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan develop PTSD -- a condition marked by emotional numbing, nightmares, flashbacks of terrifying events and severe anxiety. In addition to PTSD, soldiers are commonly subject to brain injuries, and other medical conditions that affect their day to day life, and can complicate treatment and care during an emergency.

Patients may not seek care because of fears that doing so will harm their military career, because they have to travel long distances to see a mental health provider, or because they can't take time off from their military duties or jobs to get treatment. Additionally, health care providers may have difficulty treating patients because of a lack of training or time and location issues. Organizational barriers may be the result of limited treatment capabilities in combat zones, restrictions on where and when medications for PTSD can be used, and challenges in getting service members or veterans to appointments, the report said.

MedicAlert memberships and services can help identify the treatment protocols doctors and responders may need access to in an emergency. Our Emergency Medical Information Record (EMIR®), coupled with a medical ID, can protect veterans on their home turf, and help their care providers make informed decisions about their treatment.