Cpl. Valerie Tremblay, an army medic, administers to a young patient at a frontier clinic in Mala Mahmed Khil, Afghanistan, 2004. (CP PHOTO/Stephen Thorne)
On this Remembrance Day edition of White Coat Black Art, we honour the medics and counselors who are fighting to heal psychic wounds that came from tending to injured soldiers and civilians.
A 2013 report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
found that fourteen percent of Canadian Forces who served in Afghanistan
were diagnosed with a mental health disorder and eight percent have
One of those is retired Master Corporal Mark Verrall, a
forty-one year old medic whose twenty-four year career included stints
in Bosnia and Dubai as well as two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He tells us about his PTSD and the traumatic event that triggered it. He also tells us that when he first tried to tell his supreriors about his problems the message he got
back was "suck it up" and move on. Dr. Stephen Xanakis
, a psychiatrist and retired Brigadier General with the US Army says PTSD is so
rampant among medics and other veterans that it's become a public health
problem and a military disgrace.
Brian also remembers the life of Jamie McKinley
, a New Brunswick man who fought a
both with brain cancer and a province that refused to foot
the bill for Avastin, an experimental drug that might have prolonged his life.