Over the last decade, I’ve been inundated in contemporary pictures of guys getting poked with jetguns. I love that word. I e-invented it back in 2007 and it’s gradually taken hold since I published the first book. All those pictures bespoke the horrors of the shot line. I can’t begin to describe the chaos. There were 44 of us in Flight 1644 and we went through there in about 10 minutes-even less the second time a week later. There were countless other flights with equal numbers queued up behind us awaiting their turn.
I never questioned the sanitary aspect. I’m a man. We ate and drank things most women wouldn’t consider in the 60’s. Surely you remember the $5.00 bets to drink the beer with the cigarette butts in it? The $10 dollars for the bottle of Syrup of Ipacac and a vodka shooter on top? I held that one for almost a minute. It burned. God how it burned.
Getting back on subject, we didn’t waste time investigating the jetgun. No one who was operating it would purposefully endanger us. If we were stupid enough to say ” Pardon Me, Sergeant but aren’t you going to wipe the blood off the tip before you hose me?”, we’d be on KP peeling potatoes for a week.
All these years I have told Veterans the pictures were useless. A picture could not show the spray of blood from a Veteran who flinched. It could not show whether the tip was wiped with alcohol in a vain attempt to keep it sanitary. It could not show anything more than that a bunch of guys in white t-shirts were getting hosed with a jetgun. For evidentiary purposes, they were useless as mammary glands on a steer. I lied.
Today, I had the revelation. Nurse Sylvia has been sending me extra parts and pieces for my jetgun to ensure it’s eternal survival. There are only three 1960s-70s period ones in known captivity. This picture shows the little device Sylvia had described as essential to the sanitary operation of the device. Well, one of many. It covers the Luer-style air return to the vial. All three we have arrived without them. As most know, when the nurse loads a syringe from a vial, they have to insert air or the resultant removal of vaccine would eventually create a vacuum so great the vial might implode inwards. The other potential would be for air to be sucked in directly through the rubber dam that seals the vial through which the needle is inserted. This jetgun is equipped with the air filter. You can clearly see it located behind the vial. If you are vision impaired, it’s the thingy circled in blue. The absence of this little doomoflotchie is the visible proof to anyone that the gun is being operated in an unsafe, incorrect manner. In a court of law, this is the kind of thing that will win a case. We call it precedence.
Now for the revelation. Look carefully at all the pictures of military inoculations and note whether the device is absent. This means air-more precisely, room air unfiltered- was allowed to enter the vial with each shot. The potential for a flying drop of blood to land on, or be sucked in, might be miniscule-but the mere fact that it can be has to be accounted for. Consider how close that port is to the injection site. The mere absence of the device on the jetgun abrogates the presumption of sterility. Now, it is not only plausible that Hepatitis C could be transmitted by a jetgun but that it was at least as likely as not that operation of the jetgun in this unsanitary configuration was more likely than less likely liable to transmit any disease-including Hepatitis C. Not could of, Not might of. This is the proverbial smoking jetgun evidence we’ve been looking for. Every one of us has a talisman of Basic Training they sent home or kept. Some got “yearbooks” full of crap. I got the Earl Schieb $9.95 black and white special.
This pic has a gazillion pixels. Left Click on it a few times to magnify it. That’s me in the blue circle. I will have to examine my jetgun picture more closely to see if it contains enough detail to reveal the absence of the air filter. The point being that you now have a valuable piece of evidence regardless. Presenting even one picture of the jetgun missing the filter is proof that the device was used improperly some of the time. We are accorded the presumption that we can observe and report that which comes to us via our five senses. This is called the Layno v. Brown presumption. You can’t say the jetgun had Hep C on the end of it but you can sure as hell say the thing was dripping blood or the technician failed to wipe it between uses. Now you can point and say “Oh, and by the way, the return air filter was absent as you can see in this picture.”
Here, you can clearly see the device is missing. Were it there, it would project up further and be visible.
There is no doubt whatsoever here.
Evidence is where you find it. VA has made this project almost insurmountable. Every little trick we can come up with about the jetguns may be the path to getting it listed as a presumptive cause of Hep C. I look forward to that day.
Talk to me, Johnny Vets. Got a picture? Send it to me so I can add it to this post.