Congressman Brett Guthrie testified before the House Armed Services Committee today at a hearing on military and national defense priorities for 2013. Rep. Guthrie advocated for the inclusion of his bill, H.R. 1612, which would establish an inter-agency commission to study the long-term effects of urotrauma on Wounded Warriors, into this year's Department of Defense authorization.
After reviewing the available resources for veterans suffering from urotrauma, Congressman Guthrie remarked that, "the current state of care isn't good enough and that we don't have an adequate plan or database to help these Wounded Warriors cope with their injuries throughout their lifetime."
Congressman Guthrie went on to say that: "The miracles of modern medicine, combined with the devotion of our military medical corps, have allowed many of these Wounded Warriors to live a long life rather than perishing in the line of duty. However, giving these service men and women the ability to survive is not enough. We have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that they can live as full a life as possible. That's the debt we owe to those who defend freedom."
In closing, Congressman Guthrie said that, "this is a bipartisan bill with twenty-three cosponsors, many of whom represent military communities like Ft. Knox, which is in my district. These communities understand the frequency and severity of these wounds at a human level and a professional one."
Urotrauma is a class of wounds to the genitourinary system, which includes the kidneys reproductive organs, and urinary tract organs. These injuries affect one-eighth of all wounded military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan and are a prominent hazard from IED detonations.
Guthrie's bill, H.R. 1612, would call for collaboration between the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Health and Human Services in conjunction with civilian experts and the surgeons general of each of our military services in order to plan and track care for urotrauma victims. H.R. 1612 would build on established research as well as the VA's December 2011 decision to extend special health coverage to this growing class of Wounded Warriors. Congressman Guthrie was a strong proponent of this decision.
H.R. 1612 is also supported by civilian practitioners. Dr. David Peterson, the incoming Chair of the American Urological Association (AUA) stated that the AUA "applauds Mr. Guthrie and the federal government for taking an increased interest and focus on genitourinary trauma. Urotrauma may not be as visible as other war injuries, but it can be every bit as devastating to the quality of a soldier's life and well being. It is imperative that we take steps to ensure that medical staff are thoroughly trained to adequately treat these injuries on the battlefield and beyond to maximize outcomes."