A Cambridgeshire born veteran of the war in Afghanistan is asking the public for help to fund a £7,000 brain scan.
Patrick Gallagher, 36, originally from Cambridgeshire, believes he developed a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being blown up in Helmand province in 2009.
The former Irish Guardsman was diagnosed with PTSD – which has similar symptoms to a TBI – but he cannot get a brain scan on the NHS to confirm his condition because he was never formally diagnosed with a brain injury, reports The Mirror.
Patrick, known as Paddy, is now crowdfunding to help pay for his diagnosis at one of only two hospitals in the UK equipped with a MEG scanner, which can identify a TBI.
The MoD maintains that his condition has nothing to do with his war wounds and that he has PTSD, not a brain injury.
Last year, the Sunday People revealed there were potentially thousands of soldiers and veterans who had been wrongly diagnosed with PTSD and could instead be suffering from a TBI.
Paddy joined the Army in 2007 and had been in Afghanistan eight weeks when he stepped on an improvised explosive device during an operation to clear Taliban compounds.
He said: “My platoon was moving between compounds and the guy in front of me was holding a branch back so he could pass.
“I told him not to let go as it was going to hit me in the face.
“Then, bang. I thought the branch had hit me but looked down and my foot had gone.”
Paddy’s medical problems began almost from the moment he was injured – and led to him having his other leg amputated in 2018.
He said: “I have a lot of issues linked to a TBI which I never had before I was injured.
CambridgeshireLive email updates: We bring the stories to you
Signing up to the CambridgeshireLive newsletter means you’ll receive our daily news email.
It couldn’t be simpler and it takes seconds – simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.
“I have blocked arteries, gastric issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, I had a second leg amputated due to auto-immune issues and I’ve also lost four fingers.
“I suffer from headaches, blurred vision and have ringing in my ears… I’m 36. There is no way I should have all these issues.”
Paddy, who helped raise £30,000 for wounded soldiers by rowing across the Atlantic in 2014, told how the MoD was in “complete denial about the size of the TBI problem amongst veterans and serving soldiers”.
He said: “The nature of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan meant a lot of soldiers were blown up or suffered from the effects of an IED blast.
You can find out about more local issues in your area in the widget below:
“There are probably many people still serving in the Armed Forces who are unaware that they have this injury.
“This is a national scandal.”
An MoD spokesman said it is committed to troops’ health and wellbeing and is working on complexities surrounding TBI and PTSD.
To donate, visit the GoFundMe page