ONE-QUARTER OF BATTLEFIELD INJURIES INVOLVE WOUNDS TO THE FACE OR JAW
In our age of the 24-hour news cycle and the constant barrage of Internet images, we are very much aware of the struggles soldiers face while coping with the physical and emotional trauma of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are now all familiar with images of veterans struggling with prosthetic limbs and stories of survivors dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Perhaps because the images are too difficult for the public to deal with, or perhaps because the stories are just too horrific to think about, much less attention has been given to the thousands of soldiers who have sustained visible disfigurement as a result of their injuries. Yet according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), at least one-quarter of injuries sustained on the battlefield have involved wounds to the face and jaw. Unfortunately, once basic health and functionality has been restored, the VA does not cover reconstructive surgery that it defines as “cosmetic”, intended to enhance appearances only.
The Healing Curve in West Hollywood, California is dedicated to the belief that our veterans have sacrificed enough in their service to our country, and should not have to make the additional sacrifice of their appearance and their emotional well-being. The Healing Curve was founded on the belief that reconstructive surgery is much more than simply “cosmetic”, but plays a vital role in overcoming physical and emotional disabilities caused by wounds and injury. Founded in 2008 by Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie, The Healing Curve is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans obtain the financial and emotional means to undergo the reconstructive surgery they need to restore their emotional and physical health. While amazing advances in medical technology allow doctors to save even more lives on the battlefield, those advances also offer skilled reconstructive surgeons such as Dr. Motykie the opportunity to help our veterans complete their recovery by removing the visible results of the battlefield and restoring their healthy, natural appearance.
FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER BEFORE
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 have differed from previous wars in a variety of ways that impact negatively the health of soldiers returning from the battlefield and have led to a dramatic increase in the need for reconstructive surgery that will enable veterans to restore their pre-war appearance and their emotional and psychological health.
- More soldiers are surviving their injuries: Due in part to advances in battlefield medicine and in part to the availability of body armor, soldiers are surviving catastrophic battlefield injuries in record numbers. For instance, for every soldier killed in the two World Wars, 1.7 soldiers were wounded. In our most recent wars, seven soldiers are wounded for every one killed. Less than 10% of combat casualties have died from their wounds in war since 2001. While less fatalities is always good news, more soldiers are returning home wounded and in need of extensive care.
- The type of injuries have changed: Because of changes in the nature of warfare, the type of injuries soldiers sustain in battlefield have changed dramatically in recent decades. The use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have led to an increase in injuries caused by shrapnel, explosions, vehicular damage, and severe burns.
- Dramatic increase in facial injuries: Body armor and helmets save lives, but do not protect the face, which for many soldiers bears the brunt of damage. Literally thousands of soldiers have had to endure significantly disfiguring alterations to their appearance due to battlefield wounds, including crushed facial bones, facial features that have been completely destroyed, and the inability to fully open the mouth or close the eyelids. In fact, it is currently believed that more than 200 veterans have been so severely disfigured that they may require full face transplants. Moreover, more than 900 soldiers have been severely burned as the result of roadside bombs.
Unfortunately, for many of these wounded soldiers, the secondary aesthetic surgery they need to restore their appearance and achieve a complete recovery is financially impossible. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides medical coverage for veterans, only covers surgeries that repair the injuries and restores as much basic functionality as possible. Like most private insurance companies, the VA does not usually cover secondary aesthetic surgery needed to reconstruct damaged features, enable a return to emotional health, and improve quality of life. Without help from organizations like The Healing Curve, these veterans are left forever bearing the disfigurement, scars, and emotional trauma left over from their service to our country.
THE HEALING CURVE CAN HELP!
The Heading Curve, located in West Hollywood, is committed to helping individuals who have suffered a disfiguring life event get access to the state-of-the-art surgical techniques they need for a complete recovery. The Healing Curve is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing funding and support to individuals who do not have the financial means to undergo reconstructive surgery. The Healing Curve’s founder—Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gary Motykie—has extensive experience helping people obtain the medical and aesthetic assistance they need, including researching the development of prosthetic limbs and studying at one of the nation’s premier burn and reconstructive hospitals. Focused originally on working with breast cancer survivors, Dr. Motykie and The Healing Curve now seek to offer cutting-edge reconstructive technologies to all who need it, ensuring that cancer survivors as well as victims of trauma have the natural, beautiful appearance they want and the full, happy life they deserve.
If you have a physical deformity due to a birth defect, illness, traumatic event, or previous surgical experience, but cannot afford the reconstructive surgery you require for complete recovery, contact us today to find out how The Healing Curve can help. We look forward to speaking with you today!