Sunday, March 11, 2007

comedy central: Bob Woodruff


It was many weeks before ABC’s Bob Woodruff realized how lucky he was to survive a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in January 2006. It took months for him to understand how lucky he was to recover as fully as he did.

Few do. And that is one of the more sobering lessons of “To Iraq and Back,” Mr. Woodruff’s account of his ordeal on ABC tonight. Many veterans with similar traumatic brain injuries may never fully regain their ability to speak, walk or pick up a glass of water.

“I’ve seen probably less than five that have actually been able to walk back into the I.C.U. and thank us for what we did,” Alison Bischoff, one of the nurses who treated Mr. Woodruff at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, says in this documentary. “So, to me, he’s a miracle.”

Mr. Woodruff, who makes a point of saying he was privileged to receive the “best civilian and military care in the world,” wants viewers to know that veterans with traumatic brain injuries who rely solely on Veterans Affairs medical centers do not always receive the same quality of care.

“To Iraq and Back” is remarkably compelling, mostly because the documentary, while moving, is not just a heart-wrenching portrait of one man’s courageous struggle. Mr. Woodruff and his wife, Lee, have published a book about their experience, “In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing,” and will soon be telling their inspiring tale to Diane Sawyer, Oprah Winfrey and others.