17 December 2012

C-123 Veterans Presentation to Institute of Medicine 16 January 2013

Fellow C-123 Veterans:

Opportunity: Friday I was informed by the Institute of Medicine, Agent Orange Committee (part of the National Academy of Sciences) that C-123 veterans have been scheduled for a brief afternoon presentation to the Committee to discuss C-123 Agent Orange contamination.

Background: Congress set up a process in which the VA must consider findings of the Institute of Medicine regarding Agent Orange issues. While their meeting on 16 January does not directly deal with our airplanes, it is our chance to bring the lingering contamination and the VA's stonewalling of our claims to their very public forum.
Under Secretary Allison Hickey

Many of the scientists who have weighed on to support us are well-known to the Committee. These scientists' letter of 29 November to the VA's Under Secretary for Benefits General Hickey firmly reenforced the basis for our VA claims, in particular the input from Dr. Jeanne Stellman, Professor Emerita at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Dr. Stellman has been a firm supporter of C-123 veterans for this past year, ever since her first independent expert review of the many Air Force tests on Patches and other aircraft. Although the young scientists assigned by the VA to refuse our claims have tried to dismiss Dr. Stellman's findings, the Institute of Medicine knows her very, very well. Her work is cited throughout many of their reports, she has appeared as an exert witness many times, and has also been contracted to do many research projects on Agent Orange as used during the Vietnam War. Conclusion: she knows her stuff and blows away the VA's wonks...they just don't know it! Interesting that none of the VA scientists are cited in these reports. On the other hand, Dr. Stellman and the other experts (from other federal agencies as well as numerous universities) are perfectly objective as scientists and physicians, they have studied the C-123 exposure issue, formed their opinions, which are in favor of the veterans, and they defend that position (and us!) mightily. The only possible response from the VA is to ignore the letter, of course. No surprise. One gets the impression the VA respects only those experts employed by them, whose job it is to construct barriers to veterans' claims. 

Request: We need a volunteer speaker!

We continue to seek venues such as this with the IOM to set right our unfortunate situation - we've been exposed and nothing will change that, yet our duty remains getting our veterans essential care for the typical Agent Orange ailments confronting us. Our Association is looking for one of our vets in the Irvine area to represent us at the University of California meeting on January 16, 2013. If we don't find a "volunteer", I'll do it, flying there from Denver where we're vacationing with our kids. If one of you airline-types can still fit onto a jump seat, want to take this on and save me the airfare? I'll do an outline if you wish, and even text the entire presentation - the IOM has offered to print and distribute to the Committee for us, and place it into their conference records.

Let me know...I have to get my flight and hotel reservation if nobody signs up to volunteer.

Christmas suddenly and horribly changed for so many Connecticut families in Newtown. God bless and keep them all. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? Nothing commercial or off-topic, please.