Skip to comments.VA finds that veterans with war wounds live longer than unscathed
Posted on 07/21/2011 4:31:10 PM PDT by SandRat
In the 60 years since he was wounded at war, Ruben Campos has lived a happy, healthy life in Tucson.
The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to know why.
The VA is taking a closer look at veterans like Campos, 81, after recent medical research showed a link between war wounds and increased longevity.
Aging veterans who, in their youths, earned Purple Hearts -awarded to troops wounded in action - substantially outlived their military peers who didn't receive the medal, the study found.
VA researchers tracked more than 10,000 veterans of World War II and Korea from the late 1990s until 2008, cross-referencing their death rates and medals data.
At the end of the study period, "those with Purple Heart citations had half the mortality rate of those without," said a recent news release from the VA. The results held true regardless of whether the veterans had post-traumatic stress disorder, it said.
If further research can figure out why, it could help later generations of war veterans, it added.
"War-wounded veterans who survive into later life - especially those who do not develop PTSD - may provide valuable clues as to the factors that lead to resilience to combat stress," the VA said.
The Tucson area is home to hundreds of combat-wounded veterans.
About 200 of them, including Campos, belong to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, where members range in age from their 20s to their 90s.
Campos, a former Army paratrooper wounded by mortar fire in Korea in 1951, is mystified by the VA findings.
"It seems odd," he said, adding his own secrets to good living are pretty simple.
He and wife Rose have three kids and three grandchildren. He gets medical care from the VA in Tucson, goes to church and spends some of his time helping others, for example, by assisting with food deliveries to the needy.
The former maintenance worker with Tucson Unified School District said he's been relatively healthy all his life.
David Alegria, who leads the local Purple Heart chapter, also was puzzled by the VA study.
He wonders if increased longevity might be due to wounded veterans' paying closer attention to their health as they age.
Whatever the reason, he said, if Purple Heart veterans are living longer, "It's good news."
Thanks Ruben, thanks to you and your comrades...’nuff said.
Perhaps those who receive & survive serious wounds are inherently tougher than the general population? Just a thought.
Thanks for the great service to the Country....all of them. President Obama probably yelled at the VA for having these heros still receiving money that he wants for his war chest and wants to ensure that this never occurs again. We cannot have war heros living a long life after all (per Obama).
We live in a society where we earn a wage, but do nothing significant for it. We get value, but feel valueless. These people feel like theyve helped somebody or done something significant, therefore they have self-esteem. Ive often thought, how many clerks have it in them to be heroes, but never have the opportunity? We are not given the opportunity in our ultra-safe culture to do anything personally risky for others. If something happens, we must call the cops. If we get involved, we might be sued. At the subconscious level people may think, If my life holds no value or esteem for/from others, why stay here longer?
Ive often thought children need jobs in the family; dishes, lawn-mowing, painting; maybe contributing to the food by fishing. Farm kids never seem to get in trouble, but apartment kids come home in the back of a squad car all the time.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Babies born vaginally are healthier than babies born by C-section.
And being born is pretty stressful for all parties concerned.
That’s interesting. My dad, WWII vet, never wounded. Died at 64.
pissed off ornery.
During the Vietnam War I used to think that friends that had been shot in the stomach or chest, seemed to age a little more, and it seemed like some of the life force in them had been reduced.
Its seem that we will have to resort to them again to SAVE the Republic from the lazy, the evil and the greedy statists....
My father earned two Purple Hearts in WWII and lived to 94—but his lifespan was only slightly longer than those of his parents and his brother, none of whom served in the military.
“Perhaps those who receive & survive serious wounds are inherently tougher than the general population? “
Not sure about the receive part, but the survive part was what I was thinking.
You know, hubby & I have many bad habits, and have had them for a long time. And yet we’ve seen so many people younger than us die, and I mean die of disease, not by accident or “misadventure”. We often say, “how is it that we are still alive?”
Now, we are not THAT old, just middle aged, but still.
I really think a great deal of one’s basic constitution is born in, but my mother always said that good nutrition in childhood is very important.
My dad received two Purple Hearts in WWII. He was one of those who survived the war, but not the peace, in that he was afflicted with severe PTSD (what they used to call combat fatigue). He died at the age of 44 of a massive coronary, after having survived two lesser cardiac events when he was in his late 30’s. There was no family history of heart disease, with both of his parents living well into their nineties.
Maybe. It would be interesting to compare with longevity statistics on veterans with non-combat related injuries.
(What is the first thing the docs do when one goes to visit? - Draw blood. QED)
I think the more likely reason is that those who have survived combat wounds may tend to acquire greater psychological fitness as survivors because of a sense of having been spared for a reason and that their powers of resilience against adversity have been proved. In addition, those who died of wounds may be more likely to have had underlying physical debilities that would have otherwise diminished their longevity.
“Perhaps those who receive & survive serious wounds are inherently tougher than the general population?”
I somehow doubt how one’s body handles exposure to Agent Orange denotes “toughness.”
This must mean that John Kerry(who served in V.N-just ask) will live forever.
I don’t need a VA research study to explain what is happening.
The reason that a veteran with a Purple Heart lives longer is because the VA traditionally screws the wounded veteran by denying them the benefits they deserve.
So when a veteran with a Purple Heart is denied the service-connected compensation he is entitled to...
...he or she makes it their life-goal to fight the VA to their dying breath.
I believe that this anger against the VA consumes the veteran to the point where they just ignore the knock of death on their door until they finally get the justice they deserve. These veterans just...refuse...to...die!
Just like a fighter who clicks on the light-switch of rage to vanquish his opponent even though he might be seriously injured, I believe this same mechanism is why these veterans are living longer. Kind of like an uncontrolled suspect on PCP kicking the butt of a dozen officers trying to arrest him. It’s a superhuman will of endurance!
If you took a bullet for America, wouldn’t you be angry if bureaucrats who worked for Uncle Sam decided to not give you disability compensation just to save the country a few bucks?
Makes sense to me.
I wonder if this research study included how many of these wounded warriors with Purple Hearts had to wait for service-compensation, and for how long?
Another example of how the VA might make a wounded warrior angry. It has been a long-standing practice by the military and VA to deny veterans service-connected benefits if they were diagnosed with a personality disorder or adjustment disorder, even though they had a diagnosis of PTSD.
Just imagine how angry you would be if you survived the battlefields of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam only to be denied VA benefits because some quack liberal psychiatrist decided you had an Axiom II personality disorder.
I’m telling you all this because it is the VA’s and military’s dirty little secret that they hide from the general public.
Remember, veterans with Purple Hearts deserve maximum service-connection for their war wounds!
And these same wounded warriors will refuse to die until they get what they deserve!
That result doesn’t surprise me at all. You hear that a lot especially WWII vets. Of course they are really the only measuring stick.
My wife’s great uncle, an Army Ranger was wounded in Italy, and twice in France. The last time was bad enough they sent him home. He’s 89 and now a bit frail but going strong none the less. Still a pleasure to be around.
You have to admit, after the battles, they have to be pretty amazed and thankful to have had any kind of life after that.
The nature of the wounds now are different like the nature of the combat now is much more intense. Probably 75% of our wounded vets probably would have bled out during WWII such as are the advances now. Time will tell.
I wonder if they factored in length of combat service? If you are WIA your time in combat is cut shorter than a guy who does his whole tour unscathed. I know that there are guys who get WIA at the end of their tour.
Here’s the VA article about this.
Tell that crap to my father who died at age 44 after having crashed his shot up fighter plane twice in WWII.
His brothers, one too young to serve, and one an uninjured Signal Corps member, died at 67 and 88 respectively.