From Iraq War
By Mark Benjamin
17 November, 2003
The number of U.S. casualties from Operation
Iraqi Freedom -- troops killed, wounded or evacuated due to injury or
illness -- has passed 9,000, according to new Pentagon data.
In addition to the
397 service members who have died and the 1,967 wounded, 6,861 troops
were medically evacuated for non-combat conditions between March 19
and Oct. 30, the Army Surgeon General's office said.
That brings total
casualties among all services to more than 9,200, and represents an
increase of nearly 3,000 non-combat medical evacuations reported since
the first week of October. The Army offered no immediate explanation
for the increase.
A leading veterans'
advocate expressed concern.
"We are shocked
at the dramatic increase in casualties," said Steve Robinson, executive
director of the National Gulf War Resource Center.
Of the non-combat
-- 2,464 were for
injuries, such as those sustained in vehicle accidents.
-- 4,397 were due
to illness; 504 of those were classified as psychiatric, 378 as neurological,
and another 150 as neurosurgery.
"We are especially
concerned about the psychological and neurological evacuations from
this war," Robinson said. "We request a clarification of the
types of illnesses people are suffering from so we do not have a repeat
of the first Gulf War. We need to understand the nature and types of
illnesses so scientists can determine if significant trends are occurring."
Army Surgeon General's
Office spokeswoman Virginia Stephanakis told United Press International
Thursday that it is misleading to combine psychiatric and neurological
problems. Some of the neurosurgery might be operations on the spinal
cord, for example.
apples and oranges," she said.
She also said that
some troops evacuated for psychiatric reasons later returned after getting
In early October,
the Army Surgeon General's office said 3,915 soldiers had been evacuated
from Operation Iraqi Freedom for non-combat injuries and illnesses,
including 478 with psychological problems and 387 for neurological reasons.
The new total of
6,861 reported non-combat evacuations is a rise of 57 percent since
The latest data
on non-combat evacuations includes 1,628 orthopedic (bone) injuries.
Other leading causes for evacuations include:
-- 831 surgeries
-- 289 cardiology
-- 249, gastrointestinal;
-- 242, pulmonary
-- 634, general
-- 319, gynecological;
-- 290, urological;
-- 37, dental.
the pulmonary problems included soldiers who suffered from pneumonia
as part of a cluster investigated by the Army in August.
The numbers don't
include service members treated in theater or those whose illnesses
-- such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -- were not apparent until
after they returned to the United States.
© 2001-2003 United Press International