Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Shattered survivors from Iraq (Photos Included)

Shattered survivors from Iraq
By Jonathan Bor
Sun Staff
Originally published June 12, 2005
WASHINGTON - In his last memory of Iraq, he was riding in a Humvee on the main highway south of Baghdad. Ten days later, Army Sgt. Joey Bozik opened his eyes in a hospital to find that his right arm was missing. And both his legs. His remaining limb - his left arm - was braced in a plaster cast. He couldn't move his swollen fingers.

"I was glad to be alive," said Bozik, 26, who learned after regaining consciousness at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center that his vehicle had detonated a land mine. "I was in a lot of pain but decided to deal with the problem I had then. I was an amputee."

Six percent of injuries suffered by U.S. troops have involved amputations - twice the rate of recent wars, according to data included in the 2005 defense appropriations bill.

Through April, Army hospitals treated 240 amputees, 15 percent of whom lost two or more limbs, according to the Army. Data compiled by the Marines are incomplete, but the corps has suffered half as many casualties overall as the Army.

Also, a larger share of troops coming home from Iraq have suffered brain injuries, military doctors say.

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