Toxic Chemical Update 3

 

Discussed:

 

Service associations at discharge

 

Correcting Medical records

 

discussion on the use of lithium for controlling PTSD symptoms or neuropsychological disorders

 

New American Legion Proposals

 

Service associations at discharge:

 

I had some questions come in on the VA regulations and the fellows being discharged returning from Vietnam with disorders that clearly are “service associated” in the regulations and why the VA did not cover them then.

 

First, I am not real clear on the crossover from DOD to VA; not sure, anyone in government is real clear on that.  Obviously, as we have seen in the past reports the government responsibility, Veterans responsibility, tasks, crossover, communications, etc is neither real good nor defined. 

 

Not only for service-connected disorders but even combat wounded and their family were left to fend for themselves.  In one, instance one combat wounded that I saw for at least 19 months the VA ignored him and if not for some Vets from Indiana and media coverage the Indiana Vets got for them; they would have received nothing.  It seems the VA will respond to negative media coverage.

 

In the “excuse report,” the VA secretary stated it was because the computers would not talk to each other.

 

The family goes to the VA hospital discharged from the DOD combat wounded and gets nothing.  Yet, the excuse is the computers do not talk to each other.

 

So there seems to be a disconnect between the DOD, the VA, and even the VA and VA hospitals.

 

I for one do not understand why the VA hospital does not automatically submit for the Veteran.  Especially if it is an already “associated disorder” and the Veteran is in a VA hospital bed with a “VA doctor and doctor specialist diagnosis.” 

 

Of course, this is because of the stalling process that can be used.  If they did it this way, any longer than a few months and the VA stalling or lack of performance; would become very very obvious.

 

Therefore, if there is an issue now; there certainly was an issue 40 years ago as Veterans were coming home.

 

The second issue is most of the fellows coming back were 20-22 years old or close.  They had no idea of what they were supposed to do if they suspected something service connected; including if they did, they were wimps for reporting it.  Much less, have the chagrin of the respective military on their case.

 

During that time it is doubtful also if anyone realized they had been subjected to many forms of toxic chemicals in both acute and chronic dosage, including the medics/corpsmen and military doctors.  Would that have changed anything?  I doubt it. 

 

The Gulf War in 1991 is an example of that.

 

I did have one of my guys who refused to sign his discharge papers until they found out what was wrong with him.  One of our 2/94th FDC guys that probably should have been an officer but was enlisted.

 

His hands and arms started shaking while he was on the hill and at the end of his tour, you could hardly read what he was writing.

 

He was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s and died about eight years later.  Now had he released himself he would have had to fend for himself.

 

Of course, he was older and more mature than most of us and was not going to just be released.

 

Most had no idea what they had was systemic damages and they thought it was going to go away just as soon as they got home.  As that would make everything OK.  They had no issues before they went over and as soon as they got back home, they would once again have no medical issues.  Of course, we know now that did not happen for many.

 


 

 

Correcting Medical records:

 

Another question of correcting medical records also came in.

 

I have no idea.

 

If the VA can change medical records, hide them, or take them home as if they are lost as reported in the past.  Then how you can get them changed to benefit the Veteran I just do not know.  Some of those that were taking them home by the way got caught and are now or were in prison.  When asked why they were doing it, they concluded it was an easy way to make extra money.

 

When I went to the VA here in Atlanta the first time and interviewed with my primary care physician he had four personal phone calls from his wife while we were putting information in the computer.  I had a lot of data I brought with me of over 20 years of doctors trying to figure out what was wrong.

 

Then when I started seeing the specialist’s doctors as they were reading the computer; half the information was wrong.

 

Therefore, I scheduled an appointment to go back and see the primary care physician with corrections already written up so they would be no errors.

 

In fact, I did this because the specialist doctors told me to follow this procedure.  They also indicated they could not change the computer even though I had the test results in my folder.  That it was the primary care guy’s job!

 

During that visit, he had three phone calls on mortgage rates.

 

I then said, hey how about paying attention; as the phone calls the first visit in my opinion was the reason for the errors.

 

Therefore, he got a real case of the ass for me telling him to “pay attention” and he then said he “could not” correct the computer.  I guess the VA computer hard drives are “etch-a-granite” cast in stone.

 

I do not go back to this jackass and was assigned a new primary care physician.

 

So how you would get medical files at the VA corrected?  I just do not know.

 

I think I would start at the top, the VA hospital administrator, and work down.

 

Except for the nut doctor, I gave up on the Atlanta VA hospital.  For other reasons than this doctor yahoo with his personal life and his mortgage rates.

 

By the way when I talked with her the last time she indicated there was over a 700 patient waiting list just to get in to the mental health clinic.

 

Apparently, the only reason why I got in was the recommendation by two of my specialist doctors for anger control.  That I did not even know had submitted this except for the VA records I got to submit for SS.

 


 

101st discussion on the use of lithium for controlling PTSD symptoms or neuropsychological disorders.

 

Of course, this is my novice conclusion based on a review of the science.

 

Short Summary:

 

Some of this toxic chemical damage is very similar to heavy metal damages.  Actually, forms of arsenic like Agent Blue are very similar to what would be considered heavy metal damages.  While the expulsion and retention would be different than heavy metals.

 

Central nervous and peripheral nervous system damages are very similar.

 

This includes enzymatic controls are modified for which dioxin is notorious as well as the other toxic chemicals are noted.  P450A1 and P450A2 are examples that are associated to heavy metals and yet is reported to be affected by dioxin, especially in PCT liver disorders.

 

"Toxic metals have also been found to affect cellular transfer and levels of other important minerals and nutrients that have significant neurological and health effects such as magnesium, lithium, zinc, iron, Vitamins B-6 & B1-12 (5,27,43,46,75,83)"

 

Therefore, you may have the level but cellular transfer is blocked and you get no benefit or very little benefit.

 

The B vitamin issue and other essential vitamins and minerals uptake are also associated to dioxin exposures found by the EPA.

 

These heavy metal issues are very very similar to toxic chemicals.

 

"…widespread neurological and psychological effects including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders, social deficits, other mood disorders, schizophrenia, anorexia, cognitive impairments, ADHD, autism, seizures, etc. (153-155,43)

 

Lithium protects brain cells against excess glutamate and calcium, and low levels cause abnormal brain cell balance and neurological disturbances (75,79).  Lithium also is important in Vit-B12 transport and distribution, and studies have found low lithium levels common in learning disabled children, incarcerated violent criminals, and people with heart disease (76,78).

 

Lithium supplementation has been found to be an effective treatment adjunct in conditions such as bipolar depression, autism, and schizophrenia where mania or extreme hyperactivity is seen (104,79).  It has been documented that conditions like depression and other chronic neurological conditions often involve damage and nerve cell death in areas of the brain like the hippocampus, and lithium has been found to not only prevent such damage but also promote cell gray matter cell growth in such areas (79), and to be effective in treating not only depressive conditions but degenerative conditions like Huntington's Disease which are related to such damage."

 

It should be noted that the Ranch Hand transcripts show a direct relationship to short-term memory loss and that a dioxin dose response was found.  This also included a linear response found to the number of days of exposure.

 

The hippocampus area of the brain is the primary conversion area from short-term memory to long-term memory.  Now is all this coincidental?  I sure do not know but I would just about guarantee that someone does.

 

Considering that the Ranch Hand also found in addition to the short-term memory issues:

 

In 1990 it was found, the Ranch Handers, noncombatants that were primarily skin exposed, experiencing statically significant excess in - psychological disorders of depression, somatization, and severity of psychological distress.  Antisocial and paranoid scores were significantly higher along with psychotic delusion.

 

Considering the VA found in their study of Army Chemical Corps workers (I have the exact numbers) but it was like 168 out of 800 found were being treated at the VA for mental disorders.  Did not say how many others were being treated outside the VA hospitals which could of course increase even these numbers significantly.

 

Considering that DOW itself stated: 

 

“Evidence also reveals that Dow Chemical, a manufacturer of Agent Orange was aware as early as 1964 that TCDD was a byproduct of the manufacturing process.  According to Dow’s then medical director, Dr. Benjamin Holder, extreme exposure to dioxins could result in "general organ toxicity" as well as "psychopathological" and "other systemic" problems.” (19)

 

I would suggest that if the VA started treating PTSD with lithium or similar as a general treatment then that would be the nail in the coffin that proves or at least confirms what they have been denying all along.

 

That the toxic chemical exposures, regardless of which one or combination, in Vietnam created Central Nervous system damages as well as indicated above Peripheral Nervous System damages.

 

Most especially if the Veteran also exhibits some of the associated medical disorders or those that more than likely should also be associated.

 

This was also found in the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) studies commissioned by congress done back in the early 90’s.  In fact as a general statement the OTA concluded that undiagnosed and unfound CNS damage, normally precedes any manifestation of peripheral nerve damages.

 

I would also include autonomic nerve damages also a separate issue.

 

Is all of this coincidental?  You get enough single point parameters and all of sudden the “odds of coincidence;” go out the door and it gets harder to explain or dismiss the coincidences.

 

So, the bottom line is some lithium treatments and supplements or similar seemed to be useful for Vietnam Veterans with these forms/variances of these disorders.  Depending on the doctor and what he or she finds.

 

For complete story of these heavy metals at http://flcv.com/tmlbn.html

 

After reviewing all of these issues for four years now, I think if you read through it you will find many similarities to toxic chemical damages including residual amounts that do not leave the body such as dioxin.

 

For synergy effects of multiple chemical exposures including Gulf War see:

 

 http://consumerlawpage.com/article/gulfwar.shtml

 

For similarities of disorders found in Vietnam Veterans compared to lumber workers using  Hexachlorobenzene and Pentachlorophenol found in Agent White see:

 

http://consumerlawpage.com/article/lumber.shtml

 

This is outside of 2,4-D also contained in Agent White which is already noted for CNS as well as liver damages.  Quite a potent toxic chemical combination itself, especially since it looks like forms of dioxin and furans are also part of this chemical formula.

 

(Special thanks once again to Ms Brenda.)


 

New American Legion Proposals:

 

 

GOOD MORNING KELLEY


I HAVE JUST RECEIVED IMPORTANT VA INFORMATION AND NEW PENDING BILLS FROM THE AMERICAN LEGION VETERANS SERVICES AND REHABILITATION COMMITTEE, WHICH I AM A VOTING MEMBER OF ALONG WITH THE NATIONAL VFW POSITION TOO AS AN OFFICER.


THIS INFORMATION USUALLY COMES TO ME FROM THESE TWO ORGANIZATIONS WEEKS PRIOR TO VA RECEIVING IT.


PLEASE BE SO KIND AS TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH YOUR VETERANS MAILING LISTS AND POST IT WHERE ALL YOUR VETERANS MAY VIEW IT.

 

DON WARSHAW

VETERANSADVOCATE@BELLSOUTH.NET


THE SERVICE OFFICER'S CORNER
http://www.geocities.com/congcrusher

 


  

14-05                                                                                                                July 14, 2005

 

STATEMENT OF

STEVE SMITHSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR CLAIMS SERVICES

VETERANS AFFAIRS AND REHABILITATION DIVISION

THE AMERICAN LEGION

BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

UNITED STATES SENATE

ON

BENEFITS-RELATED LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES

 

 

June 23, 2005

 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

 

The American Legion appreciates this opportunity to express our views on the many important bills being considered today by the Committee.  We applaud the Committee for holding hearings on these vital issues.

 

S.1234.  “To provide a “cost-of-living” increase, effective December 1, 2005, in compensation, and indemnity and compensation, and other rates.”

 

The American Legion supports this annual cost-of-living adjustment in compensation benefits, including for Dependency and Indemnity (DIC) recipients.  It is imperative that Congress annually considers the economic needs of disabled veterans and their survivors and provide an appropriate cost-of-living adjustment in their benefits.

 

S. 1235, “The Veterans Benefits Improvements Act of 2005.”

 

Section 2.

Codify, in whole or part, scheduled-to-expire $250,000 increase in SGLI benefits;

 

The Act serves to make permanent the $150,000 insurance increase in the Service members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program from the current $250,000 coverage to a maximum of $400,000 already embodied in Public Law 109-13 signed by the President on May 11, 2005, but which has a termination date of September 30, 2005.  The American Legion supports this increase as being an enhancement that brings the SGLI benefit more fully in line with the current economic needs of military families who suffer the lost of one who is in most cases their primary provider.  The American Legion also views as in the best interests of the insured the Act’s provision for requiring any lesser amounts of coverage elected by service members to be only in increments of $50,000, rather than the previous $10,000.  This change provides an incentive to make as great a use of the insurance benefit as possible in times of national emergency such as these.

 

Extend and modify certain other SGLI modifications in the Supplemental Appropriations Act;

 

A further provision of this Act requires the Secretary of Defense to notify the insured’s spouse should the insured at any time take action to either reduce the amount of coverage or to name a beneficiary other than the insured’s spouse.  This is not in the best interests of the insured AND does not earn the support of The American Legion.  It has historically been the position of The American Legion that this type of insurance benefit is a special contract between the service member or veteran and the federal government, is a matter personal and sacrosanct to those who serve or have served the nation in uniform, and that an insured’s beneficiary information should not be released to third parties without the consent of the insured.  We would support a change in the proposed Act to this end, so long as beneficiary changes remain a matter of confidence between the insured and the government.

 

Extend to two years the time frame within which discharged disabled veterans may covert their SGLI coverage into Veterans Group Life Insurance coverage;

 

The Act’s proposal to extend to two years, from the present one year, the premium free period for totally disabled service members in their initial coverage under the Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program, the program that enables them to directly continue their in-service coverage after leaving active duty, is acceptable to The American Legion.  These veterans who leave service in such a disabled condition require as much time as possible to rehabilitate themselves to civilian life in many ways to include the financial, and this provision would ease their monetary burden of premium payments for a period more reasonable in consideration of their service disabled condition.

 

Section 3.

 

Modify standards for “hybrid-ARM” adjustment rate home mortgages that VA will guarantee.

 

The American Legion is advised that Section 3 of S.1235 contains a technical drafting error. As written, this bill would strike certain language from section 3703(c)(4) of title 38, United States Code, which does not appear in that section.  The American Legion defers comment on this section and requests the Committee to allow us to submit for the record when corrected.

 

S.917, “A bill to make permanent an existing “pilot” program of direct home loans to Native American veterans.”

 

This legislation amends Title 38, United States Code, to make permanent the 1992 pilot program for direct housing loans to Native American veterans residing on trust lands.  The American Legion supports the purpose of this loan program to give Native American veterans an opportunity to purchase, construct, or renovate homes on trust lands.  The American Legion applauds the success this program has had in ensuring that qualified Native American veterans have the opportunity to purchase homes on trust land. Before this pilot program was implemented, commercial home loan institutions would not give individuals home loans on trust lands because of the unique relationship between the trust land and the federal government.  The government actually owns the land, but will lease the land to Native Americans for an extended period of time.  However, with VA currently having the authority to make direct loans to Native Americans, there is no need to have commercial lending institutions involved in the lending process. Since the pilot program’s inception, over 468 loans have been disbursed, resulting in a sharp rise in homeownership within the Native American veteran community.  By making this program permanent and with continued outreach efforts by VA to the Native American veterans community, the number of home loans made to Native American veterans will continue to increase in the coming years.

 

S.552, “A bill to make technical corrections to the Veterans Benefits Improvements Act of 2004.”

 

The American Legion has no position or comment on this legislation.

 

S.1252, “The Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Improvement Act.”

 

As this legislation was not timely available to us, The American Legion defers comments and respectfully requests this Committee to allow us to submit for the record when text of the legislation is available.

 

S.151, “The Veterans Benefits Outreach Act of 2005.”

 

This legislation requires VA to prepare an annual plan for outreach activities for the following year to include: identification of veterans not enrolled or registered with AV for benefits or services, plans to inform veterans and their dependents of modifications to VA benefits and services, and consultation with veterans service organizations, state and local education, training and employment agencies and other concerned organizations.  Further required is an assessment of previous outreach plans and incorporation of recommendations to improve outreach and awareness activities.  Except for veterans of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, VA’s outreach activities to veterans have been minimal, especially as regards healthcare benefits.  The American Legion supports this bill, but we recommend that Congress mandate more aggressive outreach for all veterans who are eligible for VA services and benefits.

 

S.423, “A bill to make stillborn children insurable dependents for the purposes of Service members Group Life Insurance.”

 

The American Legion supports this legislation as a logical extension of free dependent coverage, presently $10,000, which has been an intrinsic part of the SGLI program for years.  We do not believe the small number of resulting claims would pose any burden to the SGLI program.  This legislation would offer some needed assistance for the medical and funeral expenses incurred by military families who experience such a tragic loss.

 

S.551, “A bill to direct VA to establish a national cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO.”

 

VA’s 2002 report, “Future Burial Needs,” provides an assessment of the number of additional cemeteries that will be required to ensure a burial option for 90 percent of veterans living within 75 miles of a national or state veterans cemetery beginning in 2005 and projecting out to 2020.  In addition, the report identifies those areas in the United States with the greatest concentration of veterans whose burial needs are not served by a national or state veterans cemetery as well as an estimate of the costs to construct, staff and equip a new national cemetery.  VA’s current threshold for sitting a new national cemetery is 170,000 veterans residing within a 75-mile radius of an epicenter.  With 12 new national cemeteries currently authorized and in varying stages of development, VA is well on the way to meeting the demand projected by the report.  Not surprisingly, these sites are located in high population density areas.  Colorado Springs, Colorado does not met these threshold criteria.  The American Legion does do object, per se, to the establishment of a national cemetery in Colorado Springs; however, if enacted, this project should be funded outside the ongoing national cemetery expansion effort, the largest since the Civil War.

 

S.909, “A bill to expand eligibility for government-provided grave markers for veterans buried in private cemeteries.”

 

Currently, the National Cemetery Administration provides headstones and markers for the graves of eligible veterans or eligible reservists who are buried in a private cemetery anywhere in the world regardless of whether the grave is already marked by a headstone or marker purchased at private expense.  The veteran’s death must have occurred on or after September 11, 2001, the onset of the Global War on Terror, for double marking.  For eligible, veterans who died before September 11, 2001, a government headstone or marker may only be furnished if the grave is unmarked.  This bill would allow VA to furnish markers for the graves of veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990, restoring the intent of the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001, Public law. No. 107-103, wherein the eligibility date was set at September 11, 2001 in conference committee.  The American Legion agrees that this inequity should be rectified and we support this bill. 

 

S.1138, “A bill to authorize the placement of a monument in Arlington National Cemetery honoring the veterans who fought in World War II as members of Army Ranger Battalions.”

 

The American Legion has no position or comment on this legislation.

 

S.1259, “The Veterans Employment and Transition Services Act.”

 

As this legislation was not timely available to us, The American Legion defers comment and respectfully requests this Committee to allow us to submit for the record when text of the legislation is available.

 

S.1271, “The Prisoner of War Benefits Act of 2005.”

 

As this legislation was not timely available to us, The American Legion defers comment and respectfully requests this Committee to allow us to submit for the record when text of the legislation is available.

 

 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony.  I appreciate the opportunity to present The American Legion’s views on these important and timely topics.

 

 

Best to all,


Kelley

 

SP5Kelley2nd94th@aol.com