If you or someone that you know served “on the ground” in Vietnam, suggest that they check the VA’s web site, and search for “Agent Orange”. Agent Orange was an herbicide, containing dioxin, that was sprayed on the thick (“triple canopy”) vegetation throughout the Country. Unfortunately, it had some dangerous side-effets for GIs, as well. Click on: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp.
A friend and former client had made me aware of this site. Studies have found that the incidence of some 14 diseases (i.e. Type II Diabetes, Prostate Cancer, Hodgkins Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, as well as ten others) have a significantly higher incidence in Vietnam Vets than to the general public. My friend had already beaten Prostate Cancer, through radiation, however, it still counted toward him receiving a full disability rating from the VA.
Now, anyone who applies to the VA has to be extremely patient in waiting for a response. From what I understand, there are many, many hundreds of thousands of Vietnam Vets who have applid for a disability rating due to Agent Orange. That is, of course, in addition to the large number of troops coming back from the Middle East. So, be very patient if you apply.
One thing that bothers me is that not one of the doctors, who I have spoken to on this matter, knew anything about it-or even seemed to care. Now, perhaps they are bombarded with Publice Health issues on a routine basis. One even asked me “…what can we do about it.’ I would expect that any physician who has patients of that age group (say late 50s to mid 70s), and in some specialties that might be a good portion of their practice, would make patients aware of this matter. Just ask them if they were there–and tell them to check with the VA. Isn’t that getting to know your patient better?
Consider the man living on a fixed income, counting mostly on Social Security and, perhaps a small pension, for sustenance. If that person were to receive a full disability (say $1,250 per month) or a partial (20% would provide a payment of $250), wouldn’t that help them get by. For many seniors, money is very tight.