Are the walls tumbling down?

The American Legion sponsored a free HCV screening in Vermont last week  according to the Burlington Free Press (Link).  Information on the HCV-jet injector connection is given in the announcement along with this graphic.

“Military veterans are five times more likely than the general population to develop this disease, which attacks the liver, according to UVM Medical Center. Hepatitis C kills more than 1 million Americans every year.

Dr. Doris Strader, a hepatologist and gastroenterologist at UVM Medical Center, said Hepatitis C is a virus, and is asymptomatic, meaning the majority of people who are afflicted are unaware they have the disease.

“People do not get sick and as a result can have the virus for 20 or 30 years,” Strader said. “Patients suffer chronic inflammation of the liver and scarring that can lead to cancer.”

People born between 1945 and 1965 are at increased risk for developing Hepatitis C, for “unclear reasons,” Strader said. Vietnam veterans are particularly at risk. Hepatitis C is contracted from exposure to blood. In addition to the risks of combat, veterans were exposed to multiuser vaccination guns that could lead to infection.

Strader explained that veterans would line up in a row to be vaccinated one after the other with the same gun, creating the possibility of being exposed to someone else’s blood.  “Nowadays everybody gets a separate vaccination,” Strader said. “Back in the day there were less than sterile practices.”

It seems like more than a stroke of good luck that I read this article today because I have a “new patient” appointment with Dr. Strader this week.   I need to discuss my own health issues with the good doctor but I also will tell her about my jet injector–a gift courtesy of the Graham family–and interest in this topic. Perhaps she knows someone who might be willing to help us develop research questions, or study designs that will eventually help us get the impartial scientific statistical and/or experimental evidence we need to understand all the major risk factors/exposures that led to the remarkable and tragic HCV epidemic among the veteran population. It would also be advantageous to obtain unpublished studies which must exist in government archives.

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in General Messages, Guest authors, HCV Epidemiology, HCV Health, Jetgun Claims evidence. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Are the walls tumbling down?

  1. SPrice says:

    I sort of taught Danny Kaifetz, Health Officer for American Legion Post 1619 and gave him the pics. He’s had several testing days in different areas. I’ll ask him if he’s close to Dr Strader.

  2. asknod says:

    While I’ve never seen a woman pass out from the sight of blood, I’ve witnessed a few lilies keel over in hospital settings over nothing more than a syringe. On the other hand, in a battlefield setting I watched a medic light a smoke up for a guy while calmly stuffing his intestines back into his abdomen and wrapping/tying gauze dressings to hold it in. Each of us has a different sized rubber band in our brain. Sometimes they snap. Some are able to ignore the enormity of the situation. To me, the human construction is a lot like a deer or elk. I never had a problem gutting them or seeing the gore. Most women would not enjoy hunting for that reason alone.
    On the other hand, I’ve been told giving birth is akin to taking both hands and pulling your upper lip over the top of your head.
    Let’s hope we can convince someone in authority to extend “presumptive exposure” to HCV via jetguns in our lifetimes.

  3. Sherry says:

    My husband was a medic in Vietnam and receives his health care with the VA. Should I request his liver to be checked or just ask for a Hep C check? He has severe COPD and in the last two years has gone from 160 pounds to 100 and they tell me they have no idea why.

    • Kiedove says:

      Sherry, has he had a colonoscopy recently? Or seen a gastro doc? I would try to rule out gut problems. His PCP can order ultrasounds. His blood tests should give an indication of how his liver is functioning. I’ve lost over 40 pounds in 5 months since the diverticulitis flare pre-surgery. I’ve been supplementing meals with Boost and protein shakes just to stabilize my weight. And lots of drinking water with electrolytes. V-8 helps me feel better. I think if you can’t get timely appointments, call the patients advocate at the VA and get NY pushy.

      • Sherry says:

        Kiedove, his last colonoscopy was about five years ago. My husband Rick was diagnosed with COPD IN 2015 but it took two years to get him okayed through the VA for medical care. I do buy him the supplemental protein shakes but he will only drink one with breakfast as he really struggles to breath when his stomach is full. It sounds like we will need to follow up on his blood work and ask directly because nothing is ever shared about those tests. Last year we fought VA to be approved for the Choice program so he could have prostrate surgery. His VA Urologist was willing to keep him self-cathing for the rest of his life, never offered anything other than that. We were very fortunate to have connected with a Choice Program Vet that finally approved him and long story short, the surgery was a great success. Rick also has a lower abdominal aneurysm and every six months they run a scan to see what size it is. We were told once it is 5 cm we would look at surgery. Last month they said it was 5.1 cm but now they say surgery can wait until it’s 5.5 or larger. All of this just makes me so nervous and having to fight for what’s right makes me question everything. The weight loss makes me ask myself is it something they aren’t sharing or is it the COPD. I will follow up on the blood work results just to be sure Hep C can be ruled out. Thank you for your reply and Thank you allowing me to bend your ear with all this. God Bless you Sir, I will keep you in my prayers.

  4. Don Bichler says:

    Good for you!! Hopefully good things will come from this.
    I remember standing in line and “shuffling” like in jump school and getting nailed by about 4 of these guns. I personally liked them better than needles. Shoulders had some weird looking bumps like an alien planted babies but i preferred them. Liver is okay so far but that was in ’67-70. Good luck all.

    • Kiedove says:

      The mass vaccinations are one important piece of the puzzle, something recruits will always remember. But there are many many other factors that need looking at beyond the obvious ones like transmission via transfusions. I would love to find some graduate students to do some preliminary brainstorming on this. UVM has a new epidemiology certificate program (post grad) that I would like to approach too.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Oh, joy. I remember those things at basic, and the blood circling around people’s arms like a barber pole –1979, Lackland. Lots of bloody arms. Lots and lots of people, males and females. An assembly line of pickles. In one door and out the other, watching the occasional male pass out. No women, though.

    More proof you can’t take the basic training out of the veteran, in more ways than one.

    VA, of course, will deny it. 50 years later, they may finally admit it.

    • Kiedove says:

      Kinda funny–at the sight of a needle, macho guys pass out . Good thing males don’t have to deal with labor and pushing a baby out!

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