SSgt. Vincent Worrell, fresh into the Balad, Iraq
surgical hospital for care after an IED attack, had earned his second purple
heart in one year while battling Iraqi insurgents. 'My wife's going to be
pissed,' he told the doctor. 'She specifically gave me instructions not to
get perforated over here.'
A Journey Through Trauma in Iraq: While much
attention is paid to the 3,000-plus U.S. service members killed in Iraq since
the invasion, the number of wounded now stands at over 25,000 people. Many
of the most seriously wounded would have died in previous wars. In a war
with no fixed front, military hospitals in Iraq are closer than ever to the
places where American troops are felled, most often by roadside bombs, but
also by rockets, mortars and gunshots. The amputation rate in Iraq is double
that of previous wars. Many soldiers face the rest of their lives without
arms or legs, or with severe brain damage. Even for the wounded who will walk
again, and perhaps return to battle, the physical damage, and the
psychological scars, last forever.