Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some time news articles help veterans

Vet gets help from DVA after news story

CORINTH -- Things are looking up for Sgt. Matthew Welch and his family.

A story that ran on the front page of Monday's edition of The Post-Star detailing the Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran's quest to receive his disability benefits led to an outpouring of support from neighbors and ranking public officials.

"The support has been pretty unreal, and there have been too many people to count," Welch said. "Several businesses have sent money, as well as individuals who sent us checks. ... I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am."

The same day it was published by The Post-Star, Welch's story was featured on television news programs. The attention may have put pressure on the organizations which had been juggling Welch's paperwork for two years.

Miraculously, the Army found all their papers," Welch said, adding that U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, has been advocating on his behalf with the Army.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also made amends, sending the soldier a back paycheck for monies he was owed.

"Someone from the VA saw the article and forwarded a copy to the deputy director of the state, who took care of everything," Welch said.

In correspondence with Post-Star news partner WNYT-TV Channel 13's Mark Mullholland, New York State Division of Veterans Affairs Senior Counselor/Field Supervisor Gerald Ladouceur wrote, "Our New York State Veterans Counselor assigned to Saratoga-Warren Counties saw your piece and contacted our Deputy Director in New York City. Our Deputy Director was able to get Mr. Welch's VA disability approved that same day."

Welch also got job offers.

"I had a woman offer me an opportunity for a home-based business and a local cab company offered me a job as a driver," he said.

He has yet to accept an offer.

"I'm terrible with directions," he said.


I am glad when any veteran gets the mess the VA has created with their claims file straightened out, the veteran and his family are truly suffering when it reaches a 2 year point in the process, I know I have been there, I first filed my compensation claim in November 2002 by writing then Secretary of the VA Anthony Principi about my many medical problems that I felt ranged from problems that had occurred over a 15 year military career including a 2 month stint as a "medical volunteer" in the Edgewood Arsenal chemical weapons and drugexperiments in June thru August 1974. The Army/CIA were forced by Congress to stop these experiments in 1975, of the 7120 men used from 1955 thru 1975 in this program a March 2003 IOM study Long Term Health Effects of Exposure to Sarin and other Antichloresternase Chemical Warfare Agents written by a Doctor William Page P.H.D. of the MUFA Unit of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) shows that of the 7120 test subjects only 4022 survivors could be found in FY2000 when the data was gathered which indicates 3098 men could not be located a indicated 40% death rate, the report does indicate that of the 4022 survivors, that 54% of them were determined to be disabled " the report indicates that of the groups 42% of one group and 46% of one of the othertest groups are considered to be in great health or good health, so what is causing the 64% and 58% respectively to have them indicating poor or worse health? Why did DR Page ignore these questions of men that had been exposed to 254 different drugs or chemical weapons by the hands of government researchers?

It also makes me question why didn't DRPage use any of the KNOWN chemical warfare long term health studies available to him and othe researchers, it's not like there is a lot of study papers on these issues. There is the 1994 Toxicity of the Organophosphate Chemical Warfare Agents GA, GB, and VX: Implications for Public Protection published by the NIH and these researchers Nancy B. Munro, Kathleen R. Ambrose, and Annetta P. Watson of Health Sciences Research Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6383 USA. A credible source of data, and then there is a 1975 study by DR Karl Heinz Lohs a German Doctor who studied and treated the Wermacht soldiers of the Third Reich's chemical warfare program and their long term health Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

To conclude this section, the closing observations from Spiegelberg’s monograph
will be cited (these remarks do not refer exclusively to organophosphorus
CW agents) [2]:
A psychiatric delayed-effect syndrome was found as a result of systematic investigations
on former members of CW production and testing stations for the Wehrmacht. In
terms of frequency, two groups of symptoms can be distinguished–each consisting of
four separate symptoms or signs.
(1) The great majority of persons examined showed:
(a) persistently lowered vitality accompanied by marked diminution in drive;
(b) defective autonomic regulation leading to cephalalgia, gastrointestinal and
cardiovascular symptoms, and premature decline in libido and potency;
(c) intolerance symptoms (alcohol, nicotine, medicines);
(d) impression of premature aging.
(2) Further, one or more symptoms of the second group were found:
(a) depressive or subdepressive disorders of vital functions;
(b) cerebral vegetative (syncopal) attacks;
(c) slight or moderate amnestic and demential defects;
(d) slight organoneurological defects (predominantly microsymptoms and singular
signs of extrapyramidal character).
Our results are a contribution to the general question of psychopathological delayed
and permanent lesions caused by industrial poisoning. On the basis of our studies of
the etiologically different manifestations of toxication, the possibility of a relatively
uniform–though equally unspecific–cerebro-organic delayed effect syndrome is conceivable.

Yet, DR William Page published a report that found NO long term medical problems related to chemical warfare exposures, how and why? Does the fact that the "client" the agency that paid for the report to be done was the Department of Defense, and the result of a finding of long term medical problems would have found DOD to be liable for either Capter 61 medical retirements or allowed the veterans to obtain from the Veterans Administration benefits for any of these problems found by the NIH or SIPRI, which appear to be extensive, thus expensive both in treatment and compensation levels, there were over 500,000 Allied soldiers in the theater of operations in the Persian Gulf when the Army destroyed the Iraqi Ammunition bunkers at Kamisayah, Iraq in March 1991 with Sarin and Mustard Agent filled rockets and artillery shells.

I am not a scientist nor a researcher, I am an infantryman and a Mail Man by career. I however do have the health problems as described in the SIPRI report, of those known medical problems I have the following medical problems

1992 Stroke in left parietal/occipital lobes
1993 Herniated disks in L5/S1
Feb 1994 Heart attack and artherectomy (rotor rooter)
Feb 1997 Triple Bypass
May 1997 Blood clot caused heart attack and angioplasty
Aug 1997 Bypass collapsed and stent placed
Nov 1997 Another bypass collapsed, reopened original artery and placed 2nd stent
Feb 1998 Heart attack heart pump and angioplasty
June 1998 Stress induced heart attack angioplasty
June 2002 Congestive Heart failure
Oct 2002 Cardiac cath determines 2 bypasses closed off no further surgery can be done and ejection fraction of 25% and doctor told me I was permanently disabled and file for SSD.
Jan 2003 VA Mental Health due to breakdown, diagnosed after 4 months of onterviews and tests with PTSD
Feb 2003 Diagnosed with COPD
Feb 2003 Diagnosed with psoriasis, and other abnormal skin scaling on elbows and feet
Feb 2003 Diagnosed with GERD and Hiatal Hernia
Feb 2003 ED
Feb 2003 Tinnitus
Feb 2003 Dementia and premature shrinking of brain

Now I could grant that some of my medical symptoms are just a coincidence with the above known long term effects of exposure to chemical weapons, except for the fact I was used in the chemical warfare and drug experimentation program at Edgewood Arsenal in 1974 from June 25 thru August 22, 1974. Let's just state I have reasonable doubts. Especially since I have so many of the known problems linked to chemical weapons, not just one or two but nearly all of them and they started in my mid 30s and I am now 52 and have been totally disabled since 2000 at the age of 45.The other 16 "test vets" I am in contact with are in similar health that I am in and it also started in their "younger years" not in old age.

I also question the validity of DR Page's March 2003 Sarin Study.

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