NVLSP Impact Report


W hen Perla Bortel decided to enlist in the Army, she aspired to a long and fulfilling military career. Her dream was to serve her country as well as her fellow soldiers, so she joined as a combat medic specialist. She served in the elite military police unit and rose to the rank of sergeant. By definition, the role of a combat medic specialist is a physically and emotionally demanding one. It requires 10 weeks of basic training as well as 16 weeks of advanced individual training.The combat medic specialist is often the first contact for service members upon injury on the front lines.They offer not only health care but also emotional support and, if required, evacuation from battlefield or point of injury. Bortel embraced the opportunity to serve as a combat medic. She was especially proud to serve in the distinguished military police unit. She proudly deployed to the combat zone of Iraq as well as to Germany, Hungary, and Romania to serve her fellow service members. But, slowly but surely, the numerous injuries that she incurred while performing military duties began to seriously impede her ability to perform as a combat medic specialist. During basic training, Bortel had an accident and injured her shoulder.This injury led to several other debilitating conditions that ultimately resulted in several surgeries. Unfortunately, the surgeries were not successful and led to other complications, including adhesive capsulitis. Then, during nighttime training to obtain an expert medical field badge, Bortel suffered a devastating injury, tearing three tendons in her ankle. Undeterred, she continued to serve despite excrutiating pain in her ankle. In an attempt to rid herself of ankle pain, she underwent multiple surgeries.


National Veterans Legal Services Program H

Impact Report

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