My name is COL Don S., a Special Forces officer stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, and I have received substantial medical care through Mike Sformo’s Operation Backbone. Operation Backbone provides a significant, and in some cases a lifesaving capability for both veterans and active-duty military to receive the highest quality medical care for serious injuries incurred in service to our nation. Too often, veterans must wait far too long for care for serious injuries that they incurred while in service to our nation, injuries often incurred in combat, and as a result those veterans must endure arduous physical pain and deficits, and a low-quality of life as they await care.
These veterans are usually waiting for the VA to see and treat them, and the wait times to receive that care can be unreasonable, or too much for the injured veteran to bear. Likewise, active members must also, at times, wait inordinate periods for care at military hospitals, or to be seen via referral at local clinics and hospitals. Operation Backbone provides accelerated, and world-class treatment and care for those veterans and active-duty personnel that would otherwise wait beyond their abilities for that care. I am a good example of the tremendous capability that Operation Backbone provides. In 2005 I was injured in Iraq, where I sustained serious injuries to my spine, head, hips, and other areas of my body. I had my first of seven surgeries for these injuries in 2006 at Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany, but that, and all successive spinal surgeries have failed. In 2015,
Operation Backbone stepped in and provided high-resolution imaging that showed a fracture of my L4 vertebrae that had been undetected since I was originally injured in 2006, and then Mike and OP Backbone immediately coordinated high-quality surgical care for me. Now, in 2018, Mike is again stepping in to ensure I receive timely care care for those spinal injuries, as my current military post does not have a neurosurgeon on staff, and the referral process to an outside hospital takes so long for approval, and then to be seen. Operation Backbone’s personal committees to care for our injured veterans begins at placement with the best surgeon for the injury, and continues through the post-surgical and follow-up phases, and beyond. What is vital to note is that Operation Backbone may very well be the only opportunity for a veteran or active-duty member to receive timely care, but far more importantly, it is also the best opportunity for a veteran or active-duty member to truly receive world-class surgical care at some of the best hospitals in the nation.
This is the lasting legacy of Operation Backbone, and many Operation Backbone alumni would also say that Mike Sformo and his stellar organization have returned them to a quality of life that they would otherwise never returned to, and in many cases, saved their lives.