ED MATTSON: SARCOMAS and hope for veterans exposed to Agent Orange and DU!
My recent articles relating to potential life improvement solutions for diseases related to Agent Orange (AO) and Depleted Uranium cook-off particulates (DU), has resulted in a large number of inquiries from Veterans and others, who have been receiving treatment for their particular treatment for their particular illnesses from the VA Hospital, but have been fighting, some for decades, to get recognition for disability compensation. Anyone who has loved one struggling with a life threatening disease, has observed the financial consequences with which families are burdened, often resulting in financial ruin and bankruptcy. My own personal experience in watching my wife battle 5 different cancers for more than 15 years, has raised awareness to the situation many cannot comprehend. For the Vietnam Veteran who has faced a myriad of illnesses and decades of treatment, to be denied some degree of disability compensation while dealing with the physical and mental stress of endless treatments, to be denied some degree of disability compensation while dealing with the physical and mental stress of endless treatments, is not only heartless, but beyond comprehension for those of us fortunate enough to have come through the Vietnam era unscathed. With the forthcoming tidal wave of claims that will inevitably be made by the Afghan-Iraq Veterans who have been subject to DU cook off, an already over taxed government healthcare system, with hundreds of thousands of claims in process, we could well be witnessing a system on the verge of collapse. Often cancer treatments require surgical procedures before systemic chemotherapy. When our all-volunteer military showed up for duty, it was as if they had signed a blank check that the government was going to cash and spend in any manner they saw fit, including exposing out troops to biological hazards without any advance notice, and without the consent of those being exposed. Providing healthcare for Veterans through the VA upon their return to civilian life, is only addressing a part of the problem. Our returning Veterans need to be transitioned to civilian life, have placement programs or new skill training in place for future employment needs and a workable program to financially assist those who cannot make that transition on their own, because of exposure to environment toxins while on duty. Many will need on going medical treatments for illnesses still being attributed to battlefield toxins like DU, and there may be long term needs for disability compensation, to prevent financial ruin for the whole family. While my primary focus has been on Vietnam Veterans exposed to dioxin from Agent Orange, and the Gulf War Veterans exposed to DU cook-off, this by now means covers the total spectrum of healthcare issues facing our returning Veterans dating back to 1991.