New Decision On Hepatitis C

Wednesday, September 24, 2003
By Mike Murphy

News & Links

America's Veterans

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.


FAX: 202-737-1350
"Veterans Representing Veterans"