We know HCV-infected veterans are suffering all over the country. One, Mike Blackburn, was not tested for HCV until last year. His story is told in an official military e-newsletter (Redstone Arsenal, AL).
Blackburn, 62, has hepatitis C virus with stage 4 liver failure. A few weeks ago he was placed on hospice with 3-6 months life expectancy. His diagnosis of hepatitis C didn’t come until Aug. 10, 2014, just six days before his 62nd birthday, when he went to the hospital with severe stomach pain.
This should not have happened. If he doesn’t make it, he’ll be leaving behind his wife of 35 years, 3 daughters, and one grandson. So upsetting. We’re sending prayers for a transplant or treatment for Mike although either would be a miracle at this point. But life-saving miracles are worth praying for. I’m still in awe of Capt. Sullenberger’s decision to ditch a jet-full of people on the Hudson River years ago and save everyone.
I wish Capt. Sullenberger was leading the VA. I doubt if he would have remained silent on the HCV military epidemic for decades. I’m pretty sure he would have dealt with the realities rather than covering them up. Like Sullenberger, Mike’s family, ASKNODers, and others who don’t like giving up, we’ll keep working to help everyone we can.