Lift the VA’s veil of secrecy

(TAMPS BAY TIMES)   I am a registered nurse, licensed in the state of Florida. Last week I read that finally, an independent panel of scientists admitted that the once-debunked “Gulf War syndrome” is real (Report says toxins sicken 25 percent of Gulf War vets, Nov. 16). If it was not for whistle-blowers and medical professionals fighting for the rights of these men and women, this would never have come to light.

Now I read that because a doctor at Bay Pines veterans hospital stands his ground and fights for what is fair and ethical for his patients, he is labeled and terminated (Doctors call for VA firing inquiry, Nov. 26). Thank God his peers are sticking up for him. And thanks are owed to Dr. Jacques Durr for fighting for the safety of our men and women, who have fought for their country and deserve the same level of treatment as the president of the United States.

For far too long the VA has been opaque and unwilling to accept the reality that the soldiers and even contractors coming back from war have been exposed to dangerous pesticides and drugs and that our government and military allowed these practices.

Did anyone “get it,” that our GIs are being sprayed with dangerous pesticides, wearing flea collars, and were given toxic “medicine” not even approved by the FDA? We should all be incensed that the very people who are responsible for the safety of these brave men and women made them sick.

My father, who fought in two wars, was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and died at 52 from lung cancer. Capt. Thomas R. Rummel and every person who worked closely with him in a communication, electronics and radiation battalion, all died at very young ages of lung cancer. What were they exposed to? I could never get an answer to that question. Every time I knocked on a door to find out, it was shut in my face.

So now the very doctors that work with Dr. Jacques Durr are fighting for his reinstatement. I am contacting my member of Congress to support his reinstatement. The VA has been opaque long enough, and it is time for that blinding, secretive veil to be lifted.


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