Veterans Continue Fighting War at Home

Special CNN program looks at stress endured by two combat veterans


A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P | | Tuesday, August 12, 2014

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman today called on all emergency providers to watch an important documentary that will air tonight at 9 p.m.on CNN entitled "The War Comes Home".

Heightman, actively involved in efforts to make emergency service providers aware of the many physical and emotional complications that our veterans are bringing back with them from the battlefield, says “This documentary will exhibit why emergency responders need to be educated to deal with this new national crisis. Veterans are returning home with horrible scars from these wars.  They have witnessed friends killed and maimed. They have had to endure battles that lasted for days without sleep and had no respite from the battlefield because the enemy was lying in wait or planting improvised explosive devices (IED) in their path on 24/7 basis.

These returning vets require special attention and EMS, fire, law enforcement personnel and dispatcher must all become better educated and be aware that, when called by, or to, a veteran in need. The key message for all responders is that they must “slow down” at these crisis calls and stay on scene as long as it takes to get the involved veteran calmed down and into the veterans crisis program and centers available in their service area.”   

Soledad O'Brien hosts this powerful documentary that follows the journey of two men crippled by the traumatic stress of returning from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Delon Beckett and Garrett Combs were among the 2.5 million warriors we sent to fight our most recent wars not knowing what we would get back.

The painful scenes reflect the bravery of these men in opening their private pain. It's hard for toughened warriors to acknowledge their suicidal tendencies even to friends, family and therapists. To reveal them to the public takes a special brand of guts.

The documentary displays their raw moments was to give a human face to the disturbing fact that nearly 8,000 veterans of all wars buckle from the stress and kill themselves each year. So far in the Iraq and Afghanistan fighting, there have been 6,802 veterans killed in action or in accidents, according to Costs of War, a Brown University project tracking those wars. Just do that math.

To read more on tonight’s documentary, go to:

Special note on PTS Sessions to be held at the 2015 EMS TODAY Conference
As part of JEMS’ commitment to this new and important health care crisis, the EMS TODAY Conference will be offering special classes on the devastationg Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries results producted by thw Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the problem

Our New National Crisis
To be presented twice at EMS TODAY 2015 in Baltimore, MD, by Dean R. Pedrotti, MBA, BS, CEP& Thomas Winkel, MA, LPC, NCC

Saturday, February 28, 2015
•    8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
•    1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session Description:
Over the past 10 years, more than 2.7 million active and former military service members have served during the Global War on Terror.  In addition to a skyrocketing increase in wounded service members who face disabling physical injuries, current estimates reveal that up to 20% may be affected by post-traumatic stress (PTS) and another 19% of these service members may have received a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  In addition, more service members have died as a result of suicide post-deployment than those killed in action in these conflicts.
Crisis calls involving combat veterans have escalated and will likely continue to do so over the next 20-40 years as former service members reintegrate into civilian life.  Therefore, it is essential for EMS responders to become familiar with the issues facing veterans and understand the symptoms of PTS and TBI in order to better assist them during EMS response.
These powerful sessions will tell you why the Iraq and Afghanistan War has caused so many amputations, TBIs and other debilitating injuries; significant stress on deployed personnel; an escalation in stress related problems including homelessness and suicides; what to tell your personnel to expect on these calls, and ways to best communicate and reassure involved veterans; the need to remain with the affected veterans and get them into the right care path as soon as possible.

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Related Topics: News, veterans, military veterans in ems

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A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P, has a background as an EMS director and EMS operations director. He specializes in MCI management.


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