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09-30-03, 09:55 AM #1
Hepatitis C as a Presumed Service Connection for Military
Hepatitis C as a Presumed Service Connection for Military
NEW DECISION ON HEPATITIS C
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
By Mike Murphy
YREKA - My office just received some really good news for
veterans suffering with Hepatitis C. The newly created specialty
rating team in Cleveland, Ohio known as the "Tiger Team" awarded
a Vietnam veteran a service connected disability for Hepatitis
C. The decision, which just came out in August of this year, was
as a result of the "Jet Injectors" used for inoculations of most
service members during the Vietnam Era and after.
As I have written about in previous columns, Vietnam Era
veterans have been the fastest growing number of Hepatitis C
patients. The biggest mystery has always been why. Many of these
veterans belong to no "high risk" group such as homosexuals or
IV drug users, and many did not even
serve overseas. The only risk group they belong to is being in
the military during this era. It appears that a link has finally
been established as to the reasons for this.
A research project headed by Lawrence Deyton, MSPH, MD, the
Director of Aids/Hepatitis at the United States Department of
Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C. said in part, "Anyone who
had inoculations with the jet injector is at risk of having
Hepatitis C and should be tested." Research indicates that the
Hepatitis C virus still exists on medical instruments after
cleaning with many solutions. I don't believe that this
statement could be any clearer.
The jet injector system has long been suspected of transmitting
blood borne pathogens. In veterans groups, many believe that the
VA purposely denied veterans Hepatitis C claims for being
infected with this virus, to hold treatment costs down and give
the VA the ability to deny the claim. There were ridiculous
studies released indicating the veterans themselves were at
fault due to misconduct in, or after military service, that
justified the denials.
I remember, not too long ago, the Agent Orange issue was a
similar denial by the government and so was the "Gulf War
Syndrome." There were similar ridiculous studies released
indicating that there was no proof that Agent Orange made anyone
ill. Now we all know better. The government went so far as to
state that the "Gulf War Syndrome" was a psychosomatic disorder
and did not really exist. Now we know better. And now finally we
see the truth regarding Hepatitis C.
It would appear that the
Emperor has no clothes.
The biggest problem to overcome in this issue is getting the
word out to these veterans. Most of us who served during this
era can remember the long inoculation lines and blood running
freely down many of our arms during these inoculations with the
jet injectors. Another problem is that the incubation period for
Hepatitis C can be decades long and symptoms may be nonexistent
up until the time that the veteran becomes very ill. I am asking
that anyone who reads this column, please, spread the word and
get tested. You can be tested at any VA facility. If you don't
know how to access the VA, call our office in Yreka and we will
help you. This is extremely important. Your life and the lives
of your loved ones may depend on it.
More info at http://hcvets.com
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
09-30-03, 10:14 AM #2
Roger, you are such a blessing! I have been diagnosed with
acute Hepatitus C infection, and I am presently so ill that I can
not work. I had no idea where I got this awful sickness, and it
is truly awful when it goes untreated. Last year, the VA tested
me for this infection, but unfortuneatly never bothered to notify
me that the test whas positive. In the meantime, God only knows
whether I'm going to get better or not. Thank you for all the
valuable information that you provide to all of us. Semper Fidelis,
Tom Murray SSGT USMC 1973-1984
09-30-03, 11:45 AM #3
I too have Hep C but believe it is in remission as I finished up a two year research protocall--lots of hard time drugs with many side effects--at New England Med Center that seems to have worked.
I remember very well the jet injectors and the bloody arms all around. Frankly I and my Dr's always assumed that my HEP C was as a result of the many blood transfusions I had also in the past. Guess now we really will never know.
TMM54......... PM headed your way.
03-15-10, 02:16 AM #4
Hep C treatment
I served from 81-86. Jet injector before WestPac. When I applied for a life insurance policy in 97, I was found to have hep c genotype 1. This type is incurable. Tried to get help from VA. Told me since I never went to sick bay for the problem, it was my problem. Well, I found out there wasn't even a test to tell you had it until the mid 90's. Hmmm. Agent orange, Desert Storm syndrome. Pattern. I went on interferon treatment in 2000. I was a non-responder. No severe side effects. Went on with my life. After another biopsy late in 2007 my viral count was very high. Decided to go back on the interferon/ribaviran treatment. I read the results were getting better from the last time I went on treatment. Normal treatment time is 48 weeks. I did mine for 18 months! That equals 548 injections and 3288 pills. The cost was 8k per month for the meds. My insurance covered 80%. So, $1600 a month just for meds. 3k mortgage, bills, food etc.. You do the math. Haven't lost my home yet, but I will. Thank God I saved some money. That's gone now. Did I mention I couldn't work the whole time of treatment. Well, I got to tell you the side effects almost killed me. Lost 50 lbs, hair, friends, patience and almost my mind. Not to mention my nest egg. No help from anywhere. I have paid over 180k into the SS system and they have denied my disability for a third time. I could go on and on. No help from the VA, social security, etc.. I tried very hard. Over 84% of people that start this treatment, quit. I can see why. Not looking for pity, I'm still a hard-ass Marine and will get back on my feet. Just trying to bring some light on what can happen. And how some are treated by the system. Any suggestions?
I do some counselling/volunteering to Vets or anyone either on or considering starting the interferon/ribaviran treatment. Please contact me 24/7 if you need someone to talk to.
2/5 Weapon's Co. 81 platoon
03-15-10, 06:01 AM #5
My civvy Doc told me I had Hep. C also in 2002, went to a Doc in Palm Springs and this quack informed me I had liver cancer after a nice biopsy. At the time I immediately took treatment for the cancer and still worked albeit a bit on the ill side. When we got ready for our move to Texas this quack pretty much told me to make my funeral arrangements.
Went to VA Dallas and got interviewed for possible treatment for cancer and Hep.C., this friggin' intern asked me the normal questions...intravaneous drug use/alcoholism I replied yes to those and told him I was drug free for 20 yrs. Asked if I drank....I responded maybe a 6pack ayr. no bull, he labels me a chronic drunk and basically go away.
3 weeks later I get the call get my ass in here pronto and start treatment. Besides having Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, my numbers were off the chart and we started treatment ASAP. The cancer was gone in 4 months and I did the Hep.C treatment for 20 months. No work, broke sick and sorry was the name of the game. Treatment did not cost me an arm and a leg,but living expenses put us in the running for being broke. I'm in remission and never showed signs and get this the Doc said I probably got Hep C from tattoos long before I was a needle jockey. Treatment was bad..constant flu symptoms and all around crappy attitude, finding out about the innoculations in interesting, I do remember blood all around, we were herded like cattle and well you know the rest, the gov. won't admit to ****.
03-15-10, 07:07 PM #6
I remember at the induction physical in 1968 where everyone lined up and bent over for the digital exam. What I don't recall though is did they change that rubber glove each time or did they even use one. Must have be 50 of us in that same room, makes you wonder.
03-15-10, 10:47 PM #7
my induction physical in 75 was same i think they used glove but just one for the 30 or so in the room.. little over a year ago went to ky to bury one of my brothers from the corps he had hep c was in va for over a year they had no idea where he got his hep c or so they said so ****ed off now can't see straight. guess i forgot not supposed to trustthe goverment Sgt. l. j. hagens you will be missed brother i love you still kill for you semper fi
03-25-10, 03:57 PM #8
Guys and Gals,
If you are enrolled in the VA healthcare system you can be tested for Hep-C but you need to ask your primary. Remember HCV has no symptoms so there are many out there who do not even know they are infected. acoording to VA documents, SEE: VA > Hepatitis C > FAQ, How preventent is HCV, you will see that 1 in 20 veterans and 1 in 50 civilians are infected THAT WE KNOW OF!
There is are resolution before the DAV for consideration that the VA should test all Viet Nam "ERA" veterans for HCV. This is important in that Secretary Shinseki plans to re-open the 1988 study on how veterans were affected by there service in Nam. If the VA tests all vets they will establish a baseline into the extent of the HCV problem. I believe that the general will grant presumption if the numbers come in.
01-19-11, 03:58 PM #9
Found out I have Hep C.............
Was at Paris Island from July 1973 _ Oct 1973 ( PLT 262)
anyone from that time frame that has Hep C ....PM Me
Think I got Hep C from the shots from "Jet Injectors"
I never injected drugs or had transfusions......
All Viet Nam Era Vets should get TESTED..........ASAP
God Bless.....Semper Fi
01-19-11, 07:56 PM #10
The other side of the tale is that VA denied me compensation for Hepatitis C as I could not prove it came from the inoculations, or that I may have gotten this from a tattoo, etc. This was in 2005. As far as I know, VA is still not awarding compensation for Hep C to us vets.
Write your U.S. Senator and complain.
Semper Fi, Tom
01-20-11, 09:15 AM #11
The 1st thing to do is....
I was diagnosed 7 years ago and am still out here fighting to get help for the 250,000 veterans with Hepatitis C (HCV)
The VA does not recognize air guns as a risk factor for HCV
The VA does not recognize exposure to blood int he field as a risk factor, even while medivaced.
The VA has a l9imited number of risk factors they do recognize, of course the use of illegal drugs is interpreted as "willful misconduct" but such things as tattoos are. The VA website, search Hepatitis -C has the risk factors listed.
I have a copy of an appeal that was in favor of a veteran who went into the service without a tattoo but his discharge exam showed that he had a tattoo. He was granted service connection for HCV because he received the Tat too while on active duty. He said he had the tattoo done in Hawaii.
Look into the VA website and educate yourself, be your own activist and remember I will be here to help you if needed as I am an advocate for all of us.
Now, do not rush into treatment as a new drug used by the VA is almost ready to be released. Telepravir shows great promise in clearing he virus when used in conjunction with Peg-Interferon and Riboviron. The length of treatment is much shorter too. I rejected treatment after 33 weeks on Peg-Interferon and Riboviron alone, my LVT went up instead of down but the virus was cleared so my gastroenterologist took me off thinking that the treatment had worked. Six months later it all came back. I slipped off of his chair onto the floor and balled, "What now?".
The answer is never give up. You ar eina battle and you must continue to fight. We are Marines and we know no other way. I'm waitng for the new treatment now for the past 15 months and will start on it as soon as its released and I review the numbers on it.
So, I have 5 resolutions going to the Vietnam Veterans of America convention in August at Reno Nevada. If adopted they will be brought up to our lawmakers in DC and hopefully someone will ac to get us the help we need.
A word of warning be careful who you talk to about your condition because there is a lot of STIGMA attached to this disease. The public is ignorant and thinks that it is a junkie disease only, just like they thought HIV was a "Homosexual" disease only. One of my resolutions aims to change that but in the meantime be cool about it. Also, some VSO, like DAV, are not interested in helping veterans with HCV. I spent 3 years sending resolutions to their National Convention and was totally disappointed with their handling of them, and me!
Educate yourself about your HCV, get tested to find out your genotype and viral load. And remember if you have any ?'s just ask, that goes for anyone out there. I'm 20% service connected for HCV so know the ropes.
01-20-11, 09:17 AM #12
01-20-11, 09:36 AM #13
Thanks Ted, I have type 1A......... and from what I have been reading thats the hardest one to clear.
I go back to the VA next Tuesday......
Please send me the link to that site you mentioned......... Is it HCVVets?
01-20-11, 03:16 PM #14
The percentage of veterans from any era with HCV are Vietnam ERA vets.
So, we must ask ourselves, what was it that we had in common that might point to this fact? The answer in my opinion is "airguns". Teh VA will not admit that fact and will only say that HCV may have been spread by them on rare occasions and in isolated instances. Well, it's not rare and isolated if it happens to be you is it?
Type 1b is more difficult but any type 1 is rough.
When you go to the VA ask them how the new drug Telepravir trials are going and when will that medication become available. I'll do the same on 28Feb2011 when I go for my visit.
Are you getting regular sonograms? Have you had a biopsy yet? These are important in case any tumors get a start. Small tumore can be operated on larger ones cannot so get sonograms! I had a 3-D x-ray at one point also.
Google up HCVets. They have a website. Interesting stuff and statistics.
The VA itself has hepatitis C link too.
I'm trying to get the VA to approve more risk factors but have found that trying to get change is challanging.
Keep me posted on your progress and let's help each other survive in this foxhole.
01-20-11, 06:00 PM #15
I went though boot camp in 1968, I also have been tested positive for hep c, I underwent the 48 weeks of self injections and chem. treatment. That was about the nasties drug treatment I ever experienced.I kept wondering where the heck I got this from, alot makes sense now. I remember them long lines of boots with blood running down our arms.
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