Support: August 14, 2003


Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the premier military hospital in the United States. Before 911, it usually had only about 440 of its 530 beds occupied by patients. In peacetime, the vast majority of these were from non-combat causes (although there are a few training accidents that, while not combat, produce wounds that are the same enemy fire causes.) But since Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Walter Reed, has received about 750 injured troops from Iraq. But only 25 percent of these were combat casualties. The Army likes to concentrate as many patients from the war as possible at Walter Reed because that's the hospital best equipped to deal with the kind of injuries troops suffer. Moreover, it's expected that there will be some strange tropical diseases coming out of Iraq as well. Just as the 1991 war spawned an unidentifiable bunch of maladies collectively called "Gulf War Syndrome," something similar is expected to come out of Iraq. By having a lot of Iraq casualties at one hospital, its easier to pick up on any new maladies and work out a treatment.


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