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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I rise to engage the ranking member of the Defense Subcommittee for the purpose of a colloquy.

Mr. Ranking Member, I recently wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense to ask for his assistance in documenting the annual cost to the military of treating servicemembers and veterans who are living with hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the brain. Experts suspect that two-thirds of the 41,000 servicemembers diagnosed with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries over the past decade also suffer from hydrocephalus.

The primary treatment for hydrocephalus, a shunt implanted in the brain, was developed decades ago and has the highest failure rate of any implanted medical device. Veterans living with this condition will face a lifetime of medical uncertainties and incur costly brain surgeries, unless a better treatment is found.

Would the ranking member, the gentleman, be willing to work with us to help gain a better understanding of the incidence and cost of hydrocephalus among our injured servicemembers and veterans so we can focus the appropriate amount of DOD research dollars on finding a better treatment?


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