ProPublica/NPR, April 13, 2011
The Army is facing a "critical" shortage of neurologists, partly because of recent policy changes designed to improve diagnosis and treatment of mild traumatic brain injuries, according to a new military medical memorandum. The policies, issued last June, require soldiers who have suffered three or more mild traumatic brain injuries in a year to receive a comprehensive evaluation by a neurologist or similarly qualified doctor. The military also set up a clinic in Afghanistan last year specifically to treat traumatic brain injury and mandated rest periods for soldiers exposed to blasts. The new initiatives have "increased dramatically" the need for neurologists on the battlefield, according to the memo, which was issued in March and obtained recently by ProPublica and NPR.