Silvia’s jetgun photos, quotes from HCVets Tricia Lupole and in an excellent article by Paul Harashim, Jet guns should be a recognized risk factor for hepatitis C, (Las Vegas Review Journal, 2/25/17) will be appreciated by NOD readers (Link). He writes from personal experience:
When I watch the federal government’s current public service messages on TV urging baby boomers to get tested for hepatitis C, I can’t stop thinking about how my arm, and those of many men next to me, bled as we received jet gun vaccinations during our earliest days in the military.
Powerful air pressure from the jet gun forced a tiny stream of medication through our skin without a needle. Because the shot hurt, many of us flinched. Our skin broke, and as we started bleeding, the blood blew back on the jet gun.
The medic injected the next man without cleaning the gun. So it went when I was at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Hundreds of arms, a few bloody devices. Day after day, year after: Arm-to-arm-to-arm–Lax hygiene? Nope, no hygiene. Blood borne pathogens like HCV, had found a new transmission vehicle to spread into new human hosts exponentially.
Mr Harashim wrote. second great article recently…
jet injections–all in the name of efficiency. Prudence not wanted.
I was a Navy Corpsman that had to give the shots with one of those beasts. They were heavy and after giving sixty Marines the immunizations with this thing it couldn’t have been very clean.
I tried to wipe them with a alcohol soaked cotton ball but had little luck because there was always another arm to shoot. I was told by one of the “Wisdumb’s” of medicine that, get this, “The gun was designed so that there could be no exchange of body fluids that get onto the head of that device.” So much for those that go to medical school and cruise through the classes on infectious diseases. My very last one to give was a young Marine in 1968 at MCRD San Diego. He was scarred and I was tired. I was right in the midst of the platoon when I placed the gun against his left arm, I pressed in and pulled the trigger. He flinched leaving a very straight slice in his arm about two inches long. I immediately placed a dressing on his arm and tried to stop the blood. After treating him and taking him to the ER I walked away from that beast and refused to pick it up ever again. What were they going to do to me? Shave my head and send me to Nam? They did that anyway. I always hated what I did to that young marine just out of high school.
Thanks Ron. I think this is the first I’ve read of an injury this severe. But not your fault. These contraptions were so primitive.
Ron, it was their responsibility to teach you how to use the device properly along with its cleaning, assembly and maintenance. They were also supposed to let you read the manual and let you use the gun so you could practice before actually giving vaccines. It was their responsibility to make sure you used it correctly, not yours. You did your job and under the circumstances you did it very well. The jet guns were primitive in their design and could have injured many more as well as yourself. So thank you, for your service and for speaking up. That is what we need, people who were there and handled the guns to speak up.
I got my shots via an air gun at Ft. Benning in 1969. It was a bloody mess as I remember. I also remember the infections some of us got at the injection sites. I know there were recruits whose arms were almost useless a day after the shots. It did not bother anyone in our command because we were all going to Vietnam anyway. They put in as little as possible into our survival because we were cannon fodder. Nobody in their right mind who came from a middle class home would have volunteered to join the service in 1969 if they knew the incredibly poor conditions we lived with and our negligent medical and physical treatment they would received from the USA.