Data that would support Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ claims are intentionally hidden or manipulated to avoid payment of costly benefits, according to the testimony of a former Veterans’ Administration (VA) researcher before a House subcommittee.
As reported by USA Today, former epidemiologist in the VA’s public health department, Steven Coughlin, told subcommittee members studies are simply not released if their results fail to support the office of public health’s policy. The unwritten policy also mandates that on the rare release of embarrassing study results, those results are manipulated.
Data being distorted or covered up includes information obtained about the dangerous health consequences of environmental hazards—exposure to toxic substances and contaminants during the Gulf War or burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example.
Coughlin’s testimony to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs included the information that the VA minimizes research that would support veterans’ claims who suffer from Gulf War Illness symptoms or those who have serious health issues related to burn-pit exposure while serving in Iraq.
One committee member, Representative Mike Coffman, a former Marine, called the Veterans’ Administration’s attempts to minimize health issues associated with the Gulf War “embarrassing.” He wanted to know why money intended for health care for Gulf War veterans had been spent on other programs. One million dollars, for example, was allocated for a Lou Gehrig’s disease post-mortem brain bank where most of the brain samples were not taken from veterans of the Gulf War.
Contact the legal team at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley if you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice. Our San Diego injury attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve if a physician, an anesthesiologist, a nurse, or another medical professional made a medical error. Call us at (619) 814-9000 or complete our online contact form. We offer a free consultation.