The New Normal

The New Normal

It’s great to see so many people on social media giving thanks on Veterans Day for the service and sacrifice of strangers and loved ones who served in the military for our protection.  And while those accolades are important, it’s also critical that we make sure these brave men and women have access to state-of-the-art technology and treatment to ensure they are reaching the highest level of function possible. Veterans with traumatic limb loss are learning what it means to return to their work and home lives following an amputation. But they aren’t altering their life goals or downgrading their plans – rather, they are relying on state-of-the-art technology and advancements in patient care to help them reach optimal clinical outcomes, whether it’s running again or attending to activities of daily living. They are veterans like Travis Mills, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant and one of five Afghanistan war veterans to survive a quadruple amputation. There’s many words to describe him, but one of the most powerful ones is runner. Fitted with specially made running blades, Mills can now run more 1 1/2 miles. He plans to do a 5K. In a story for Runner’s World, he describes his first experience on the blades this way:  “I was so excited to get running, I broke one in half one of the first times I put them on. I drove two hours that same day to get it replaced. I wanted to keep at it.” Mills is an example of a veteran seeking the highest level of function possible – a goal that should be the norm for all people with limb loss. It’s this “new normal” that offers...
Boston Marathon Bombings – One Year Later

Boston Marathon Bombings – One Year Later

***** The Boston Marathon. For runners around the world, it represents the pinnacle of the sport. It’s a lifetime achievement to qualify and an honor to run the epic 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boyleston, past the screaming girls of Wellesley and the hills of Newton. One word can describe it: electrifying. Last year, however, the outcome of the day was nothing but terrifying, as homemade bombs exploded at the finish, killing three and wounding 264 others. In the 365 days that have followed, people have come together to support the victims and their families as they grip with tragic losses and lives forever changed. The Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, a BADER Consortium clinical rehabilitation site in the Boston area, has been at the forefront of helping people impacted by the tragedy resume lives that are as close to normal as possible. Since last year, they have cared for 33 survivors, including 15 amputees. This has long been the goal of BADER and the work is no less important in the civilian population than it is for our wounded warriors. While we would prefer never to see such tragedies again, this serves as a good reminder why this ongoing work is crucial. People will always be in need of solid research and technology to keep pace with a changing world and to maintain a high quality of life. Recently, Spaulding announced it has launched a 10-year study to better understand how to help people impacted by such traumatic events as bombings and mass casualties. From the Boston Herald: Doctors will look at physical health, mental health, employment, relationships and more. They will...