Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Take on the IOM Report

There were several things that struck us as significant when we read the Summary section of the Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2011 yesterday. Two in particular got our attention as both were pointedly remarks aimed at the DVA for things they did/do, and things they should be doing.

First, let’s look at this statement:

This committee recommends that the VA should more actively query their own medical databases to identify potential associations between Vietnam service and specific health outcomes, particularly for those outcomes that are less common. Moreover, if a perceived conflict of interest exists in surveying their own databases, it is recommended that an external advisory group be formed to determine the best mechanism for mining this information so that these medical databases could be available for external study.

We have called for a study to be made. We suggested that all Vietnam Vets be asked to participate, not just those in the DVA databases. We would like to see the study determine who has what diseases, not just AO, but all diseases, and where and when they were in the Combat Zone, and whether they were air crew, ground troops or Naval personnel. We would include as a separate group, military personnel who served in locations where herbicides were stored, or in the case of Korea, used. As one control, we would suggest that Vietnam Era Veterans who did not serve in Theater, and did not receive either the Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam, or the Vietnam Campaign Medal be similarly polled. As a second control we recommend a comparable cohort of civilians who were in the 17-35 age group during the Vietnam era.

We note this passage from the Summary as well:

It is especially important that longitudinal analyses be conducted on cancer, cardiovascular, and reproductive outcomes represented in the complete database assembled in the course of the Air Force Health Study. The committee endorses VA’s actions toward restarting the congressionally mandated National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study, derived from the cohort originally studied in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study.

We agree, but in light of the previous quoted concern for a potential “conflict of interest” if the DVA conducted its own study, we think all studies should be removed from the purview of the DVA. And their Databases should be, MUST BE audited continually. Admiral Zumwalt, in his report of 1989 that led to the Agent Orange Act of 1991 called the DVA out for its meddling and corruption of data and results in studies regarding Herbicides and Vietnam Veterans from the very start of such studies shortly after the war ended, a period of about 15 years up until that time. Apparently such corruption by the DVA continues even today.

We note the words in the paragraph above, ”…if a perceived conflict of interest exists in surveying their own databases, it is recommended that an external advisory group be formed to determine the best mechanism for mining this information so that these medical databases could be available for external study.”, and we agree. We think the large Veterans Service Organizations such as the American Legion, the VFW, VVA, FRA, Amvets, and others toss their hats and their cash in the ring to fund the study, contracting it to a reputable university with a record of doing good statistical analysis studies.

Those same words are an implied slap at the reputation DVA has for meddling and corrupting scientific studies to suit their own agenda. The very concept that a Cabinet Level Department has an agenda of any kind beyond the mission of that department is reprehensible. Politics and ideologies simply cannot be allowed to influence the straightforward carrying out of the department’s mission.

It is time for the DVA to clean up its act and begin carrying out its self-described mission “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle…”

We have stated before, that ”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield.", and it continues to be true today for all Veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the shame of the Nation.


VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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3 comments:

  1. Anonymous09:29

    I totally agree with everything you have written BUT, it is all 100% meaningless until the DVA is put back on the path of doing the job they are tasked to do - taking care of veterans! Were that the true and primary goal of the DVA, most of this would be unnecessary.

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  2. Anonymous14:57

    Unfortunately, the DVA is more interested in taking care of themselves than they are of taking care of Veterans. I have both Brown Water Service and Boots on the Ground and just finished my third C&P exam for the same thing, Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy. This is either gross negligence or gross incompetence

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  3. Its been going on for forty years. Sad commentary on the DVA using ideologies to influence Veterans Benefits.

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