Pentagon to open second amputee care center for vets of Afghan, Iraq wars

The Defense Department’s second amputee care center is slated to open Jan. 14 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to provide state-of-the- art care for servicemembers who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new center at Brooke Army Medical Center will incorporate a full range of amputee patient care at one site. This includes orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy and prosthetics, as well as social work and Veterans Affairs counselors.

Officials said the new facility will help return patients to “the highest level of activity,” while providing an opportunity to research advances in rehabilitation and prosthetic design with all amputee patients.

Army Brig. Gen. C. William Fox Jr., the hospital commander, said the goal is to provide “provide unprecedented levels of care that are the best that can be found anywhere,” and to help recovering soldiers ultimately return to duty if they wish to do so.

The new facility will expand the services already offered at Brooke, the Army’s only Level 1 trauma center and the Defense Department’s only burn center.

The Defense Department’s first amputee care center opened at Washington’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center in early 2004. Since then, 186 troops wounded in Iraq and 21 wounded in Afghanistan have received treatment there, as well as a small number of other patients not involved in the war on terror, according to center public affairs officer Bill Swisher.

A new amputee training center is expected to open at Walter Reed in December. Military officials broke ground for the new facility Nov. 19.

Once completed, the new 29,000-square-foot center will offer a full range of patient-care services. It also will include features officials say are aimed at “returning patients to a tactical level of athleticism,” such as a running track, bicycles, treadmills, elliptical trainers, climbing and rappelling wall, platforms for patients to practice balance and coordination skills, and a lab for analyzing patients’ gaits while wearing prosthetics.

From U.S. Dept. of Defense

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