Gulf War Veterans Disability Claims for Brain CancerTuesday, August 9, 2005
New research shows an increase in brain cancer deaths for veterans exposed to the nerve agent Sarin in Gulf War I. Over 100,000 soldiers were exposed to chemical warfare in Iraq during the first Gulf War. According to the new study, they now have double the risk of dying from brain cancer compared to the 250,000 soldiers who were not exposed. And this information is just coming out now – some 14 years after their exposure. Makes you wonder what our current soldiers in Iraq have to worry about when they hopefully come home for good…
We generally know the great sacrifices our soldiers give during war time, including the ultimate sacrifice. However, we all should remember the overwhelming challenges some face when they come home. Whether it is the staggering divorce rate, learning to walk or eat with new limbs, PTSD , personal bankruptcy or the cruelly indifferent attitude of those not brave enough to serve, our veterans face huge obstacles. If one needs the Hollywood version to get the picture, rent the DVD’s of “The Best Years of Their Lives”, “Coming Home” or “Born on the 4th of July” and see if you don’t think more should be done to ease their transition home and protect their health.
As a veteran myself, I take great pride knowing that my law firm has been helping veterans with service related disability and Social Security disability claims for many years now. These are not lucrative claims for lawyers, but they are very rewarding. David Tobias, our partner in charge of VA disability claims, is currently fighting an unusual claim involving cancer of the larynx (vocal chords) for a Korean War era veteran due to radiation exposure at a top secret atomic weapons assembly plant. Just getting the official records from the Department of the Army regarding the doses of radiation the veteran was exposed to was a battle. Now we have to prove that the exposure caused the larynx cancer. The Veterans Administration has fought us all the way, and the case is currently pending before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, DC. Personally, I think the VA underestimated the scrappy ex-wrestler from Long Island (Dave Tobias) and we are hoping to make some good law later this year. Let’s hope we don’t have to fight similar battles with the VA regarding these new brain cancer cases in the future.