Search Site
Latest  Additions
Mailing  List
Topic Index / FAQs
Medical Information
 Related Sites






green line
      DHSD meeting with DSBR
        May 2nd 2003
At this meeting Kirt Love met alone with Mike Kilpatrick,
Barbara Goodno on the minutes from the last meetings.
Primary content was on Operation Iraqi Freedom, and all the
measures taken for the troops in theater and coming home. 
It turns out the blood samples being taken for Soldiers coming home are only for the HIV vault, and its just fresh serum for the vault. There will be no other test done, unless a independent researcher puts in a request to Military Health Affairs to be granted access to the samples. This will effect cryogenic storage procedures, so the sample will more than likely be destroyed afterwards. I have asked Mike for procedures so that researchers can make a request to HA. 
What makes this interesting is the one other time that a researcher got access to this blood vault, and that was the Naval Research Medical Center flawed Hep C study that stated the incidents of Hep C was low in the military. 
April 11th 2001 - Stars & Stripes Story

As to getting answers I wanted on the AFIP tissue vault over cataloging Gulf War tissue samples, DHSD stalled on us again. But, I handed Mike a stack of request letters from our organization asking they demand this from AFIP. It doesn't have to be different or unique, it can be just like the other tissue catalogs there. But, DHSD should pay AFIP for that cataloging effort - as per a request of Florabell Mullick of AFIP pathology that someone will have to pay for this. So far the VA RAC, WRIISC, IOM, and many others are unwilling as this drags beyond year 3 of this request.

I did note that Mike had said that VA itself wasn't really interacting with his department on Gulf War I and II issues, and that the only ones approaching them had been VBA. Which I had a similar feeling have had VA Public Affairs stall us on the issues for the last 4 months, which conflicts with the public image. There isn't much coordination going on between these two, and it is becoming increasingly apparent. 

As to getting answers I wanted on the total names database of those that deployed to Iraqi Freedom, DHSD said they had not seen it yet. I professed this seemed odd that now with the war nearly over they didn't have any idea of where the names of these soldiers are, and how they will track them. So Mike promised me a response from the appropriate office at health Affairs. No doubt that will drag out over years as they stall on this one so that they can claim they somehow cant track these people. So Mike said that Embrey, Chu, and Winkenwerder were looking into this.

As to getting answers I wanted on the computer software military medical record tracking system the medical core was issued during Iraqi Freedom - the only answers I got was this was 2 months from creation to implementation and then Barbara stopped Mike from finishing the rest of the statement.

As to getting answers I wanted on the on CHPPM's tracking of environmental factors in this war, they could not give me a date as to any release of that data. I asked about DU, I asked about measures to protect the troops from the sand storms - i.e. silicosis. Mike recanted "Well what I saw was what was on TV, the troops wearing bandanna's over their faces during the storms". I discussed at length how the 50 mph winds could scour the destroyed vehicles, and make the microscopic DU airborne. That with tons of this powder in the region in the winds, and other heavy metals could be a respiratory issue for the troops. Mike said that detection was still upto the Baltimore DU team using the same 24 hour urine collection mass spectrometer procedures, provided it was requested. Well, it took me nearly three years to get this done for myself, and VA has terrible at making it happen for me. Hygiene will be the issue and these troops did not have proper protection form the environment as Venus and I had expected. 

It appears that with soldiers of Iraqi Freedom, they will end up with one on one meetings with DHSD staff rather than military town hall meetings like were done with Gulf War veterans from years ago. This is no doubt to avoid another incident like the infamous San Francisco town hall fiasco of shouting angry vets. With one on one meetings they can squelch any problems privately rather than dealing with them publicly.

Another problem I see is the implementation of VAMC's helping with soldiers exit exams from this deployment. Right now many VAMC do not even have Persian Gulf Coordinators, but instead they have poorly trained staff doing duel positions - in many cases psyche personnel doubling as I / O / G coordinators working with C&P departments doubling as Persian Gulf Registry database personnel. With positions not filled and people improperly trained, soldiers military exit exams fall back on the willingness of each military units Company commander to push good exit exam procedures. In the end its up to the unversed and ill prepared soldier to cover his own butt - and they certainly do NOT know what to say to a physician when they maybe wanting to get out of the military in a rush. They pay later when they become ill, and didn't speak up earlier.

This year the NGWRC has its annual conference in Kansas City,  and I was surprised to hear Mike tell me the NGWRC had not invited DHSD to attend this years meeting. So they will not be sending anyone, and I'm not sure if that is good or bad. Still, its unusual for DHSD not to be their.
I'm still waiting for a answer from Mike Kilpatrick on the conversations with VBA on the Khamasiyah narrative effecting Gulf War vets claims - "Benefit of the Doubt" vs. "Burden of Proof".  He tried to cite the last Public Laws that are supposed to grant Presumption of Illness, and I reminded Mike that I was part of those Bills on Capital Hill, and what lead to them. In the end we did NOT get what we really wanted because each time the Bills were butchered when added to each Omnibus Bill. In the end it still falls back to "Burden of Proof" to exposures to Sarin that VA will NOT grant because of the OSAGWI Khamasiyah modeling. Mike had once admitted his department had gotten calls from VBA on Gulf Vets who's claims were denied because of this modeling data.
Last but not least, I noticed in the hallway that the marquee had both DHSD, and Health Affairs inside room 901. Well, it turns out Ellen Embrey's office is now on the back corner of Skyline plaza, and as I passed her office on the way out she scowled at me. I had asked to meet with her, and never got a answer. The Ironic part is she is 2 rooms away from where we meet with DHSD, and I guess she is to good to dirty her hands with actual Gulf War vets. 
These meetings are meant to be uninspiring, and hard to get real facts from DHSD. But, I am very determined, and after 5 years of this they should know by now I just don't quit. I have little faith that these troops coming home from Iraqi Freedom will be cared for like what is being said, to many things are already questionable, and DHSD has not provided any detailed answers to many of my Gulf War II questions since Sept 2002.  
Response letter to January - April 2003 meetings with DHSD:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5