A scientist with guts: VA Whistle-blower testimony

In December 2012, Dr. Steven Coughlin quit his job as a VA epidemiologist in disgust with his supervisors and VA policies that hurt veterans.  He is working as a professor now.  He  testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on 3/13/13.  The hearing topic was “Gulf War: What Kind of Care are Veterans Receiving 20-years Later.”

The hearing webcast links are here but the first one isn’t working right.

Update:  The hearing was delayed and starts in the first video about 1 hour & 28 minutes into the video! So click forward until about that time.



Excerpts from U. S. A. Today

“…If the studies produce results that do not support the office of public health’s unwritten policy, they do not release them,” “There was no one to present the opposing side – that it’s neurological,” Coughlin said. “Science is self-correcting, but if people don’t publish data that doesn’t support an opposing hypothesis, then it’s a huge problem.”

From The Hartford Courant:

“In his testimony, Coughlin, now an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Emory University, claimed:

• His supervisor told him not to look at data on hospitalizations and doctors’ visits for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan when studying the relationship of their health problems to exposure to burn pits and other inhalation hazards.

•VA officials at first refused to set up a system to offer intervention for veterans who told surveyors that they had suicidal feelings.

• VA officials arranged for five speakers to brief the medical panel studying Gulf War illnesses with views that Gulf War syndrome is psychiatric “although science long ago discredited that position,” Coughlin said.

•When Coughlin tried to make changes recommended by experts to a study of Gulf War veterans, his supervisors killed the idea by falsely claiming it would cost $1 million to do so, he said.

•VA needs a better system for safeguarding study data and making it more widely available to researchers. One database of Gulf War veterans’ family members that was mandated by Congress was lost forever by a computer in Texas, he said.

Other articles: Air Force TimesForbes article


About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in Guest authors, Gulf War Issues, PTSD and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A scientist with guts: VA Whistle-blower testimony

  1. Kiedove says:

    Will anyone in the media take notice of the allegation that the VA does not release scientific reports when it doesn’t like its conclusion? How many unpublished reports does the DOD and VA have hidden away?

  2. hepsick says:

    Ya I Remember, You are suffering from Depression, NOT HEP C, over and over for 20 years,The Hep C was the problem, the Depression was from it, I told them over and over, There Game is Rigged We are nothing more then a old Duce and Half, they throw us away and make a newer Version, and start all over again, Mix and Repeat. I do not think WE are in America anymore.

  3. Randy says:

    Without a mass turnout demanding changes be made what good is it all doing. The dog and pony show has been around for years and the sheeple buy into the blather and hype. Every time there is a meeting concerning Veterans rights, comp and the like, there is a good deal of back slapping and shaking of heads and hands. But the truth of the matter is where and when will this BS stop and action begin? AO, HCV, DMII, PTSD and associated illnesses are still kept in the closet and only see the light of day if the VA decides to crack open the door a wee bit. DVA, Congress, Senate and dear ole Mr. President need to get off their collective asses and get this situation turned around.

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