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Treating the Invisible Wounds of War

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kate Kelly, CBS 5

In a corner of Shoup Park in Los Altos, a statue honors the U.S. military. The soldier’s bandaged arm is a reminder of the sacrifices of service. But for Los Altos doctor Jerome Blum, it’s the wounds you don’t see that concern him. He calls them invisible wounds, and they are a signature of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. [...]

Dr. Blum sent his ideas about universal screening to the state capitol, where it didn’t get much response until it landed on the desk of his state senator, Joe Simitian.

“It was very compelling,” Simitian remembers. “He really conveyed both in his letter, and when he came to the capitol, that this was the least we could do.”

Simitian entered Dr. Blum’s letter in his “There Oughta be a Law Contest” and out of over 400 entries, his won.

“I almost fainted!: Dr. Blum says with a laugh. “Because I never win a contest!”

By the end of 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger had signed Senate Bill No. 1401 into law.

Simitian says, “The California Department of Veterans Affairs, The California National Guard are now obliged as a matter of state law to make sure when young men and women come back from Afghanistan and Iraq, they know about traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress syndrome, and they know that there are options out there for them; that there’s help.”

Read and watch the full story on the CBS 5 website