VA Diverted Funds Intended for Traumatic Brain Injury Research

brain scansOne of the most common injuries that occur to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is traumatic brain injury. According to, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center reports 10 to 20 percent of troops with combat exposure suffered these concussions from roadside bombs.

Recently, questions have been raised regarding the money that was intended to research these injuries, and it has been brought to attention that the funds had been used wrongly. Those who have been victims of brain injury should consider retaining an experienced personal injury attorney in order to seek damages and compensation.

Fired for Speaking Up

Physician Robert Van Boven was recently let go from his position in the brain imaging laboratory in Austin, Texas. He had been questioning why $2 million was being spent on insignificant and unrelated research and was subsequently punished for pointing out the abuse of taxpayers’ money.

Stripped of supervisory authority, and later removed from the laboratory, Dr. Boven wrote a letter to Sen. Richard Burr, and Rep. Brad Miller seeking a more in-depth investigation. In another case, that of radiologist Anna Chacko, Virginia officials fired her from Pittsburgh VA facility in Oakland after she also questioned spending and treatment practices.

Will Justice Be Served?

Both are seeking to point out the wrongdoings and retain their jobs, while Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is called to explain why $6.3 million intended for research and treatment of traumatic brain injuries was spent without treating any veterans.

A report by the VA’s inspector general found that none of the money that was intended to research traumatic brain injury actually went toward clinical services for veterans. Instead, Texas VA administrators approved the money and it was paid for unrelated research.

Further investigation is underway as Congress questions if whistleblowers are adequately protected by existing law and procedures.

A Missed Opportunity

Because the money was not used as intended, the VA eliminated the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge about these complex battlefield wounds. Some of the funds were used for studying diabetic retinopathy, which is in no way related to the brain injury suffered by veterans of war. In fact, due to the severity of the weapons used in modern warfare, in both size and signature, the injuries are increasing drastically. If the money had been used correctly, a more effective treatment method would possibly be discovered.

Not only was the $6.3 million intended for the study of the treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury, but also for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which affects many soldiers who are returning from war. Because of this apparent misuse, the possibility of a better treatment program has been eliminated.

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If you or someone you love experienced a traumatic brain injury, contact our office. We will provide you with a free consultation and evaluation of your case and offer you the information you need to make an informed decision. We will see to it that you or your loved one are compensated for your injuries.

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