Friday, February 8, 2008

Mysterious Troop Deaths Like Heath Ledger's

Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, said there has been "a series, a sequence of deaths" in the new, so-called "warrior transition units." Those are special units set up last year to give sick, injured and war-wounded troops coordinated medical care, financial advice, legal help and other services as they transition toward either a return to uniform or back into civilian life.

Without giving a number, Schoomaker said the deaths among the convalescing troops were "accidental deaths, we believe, often as a consequence of the use of multiple prescription and nonprescription medicines and alcohol."

"This isn't restricted to the military, alone, as we all saw the unfortunate death of one of our leading actors recently," Schoomaker told Pentagon reporters.

The New York medical examiner announced Wednesday that Ledger, the 28-year-old "Brokeback Mountain" star, died Jan. 22 from an accidental overdose - the effects of taking six types of painkillers and sedatives... (Associated Press)

Given how over-medicated we are as a society (there's a pill for darn near everything), this sad news shouldn't be a surprise. I hope Schoomaker and others will help bring about some real changes.