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Depleted Uranium Casualties: Care Denied

Dr. Doug Rokke, Ph.D.
Major (retired) United States Army Reserve
Former Director U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project
April 1, 2004

Depleted Uranium Casualties: Care Denied

Although published U.S. Army regulations and "Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Exposures" (Headquarters, Department of the Army, October 14, 1993) require that military medical treatment facility personnel provide a radio-bioassay within 24 hours of depleted uranium contamination exposure and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs directives also specify completion of a radiobioasay followed by relevant medical care for all individuals who were exposed to uranium contamination via inhalation, ingestion, absorption, or wound contamination while:

"a. Being in the midst of smoke from DU fires resulting from the burning of vehicles uploaded with DU munitions or depots in which DU munitions are being stored.

b. Working within environments containing DU dust or residues from DU fires.

c. Being within a structure or vehicle while it is struck by DU munitions."

Medical care has been willfully denied to the majority of DU casualties who are supposed to receive care. Gulf War Review (Volume 12, No. 1, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) states that as of September 2003, only two hundred and sixty two (262) veterans had been tested for depleted uranium exposures.

This is only a fraction of the 424 Gulf War 1 depleted uranium friendly fire and recovery team veterans who were exposed to uranium contamination during Gulf War 1 according to a September 28, 1998 briefing provided to President William Clinton's Presidential Special Oversight Board under Senator Warren Rudman by Office of Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses officials under the U.S. Secretary of Defense. However the 424 number of exposed individuals is only a fraction of the thousands of U.S. and U.S. coalition forces who were exposed and it does not include thousands of Iraqi military personnel and none of the thousands of civilians and non-combatants who were exposed during combat operations, DU weapons manufacturing, or DU weapons testing.

While a small fraction of confirmed U.S. DU casualties have received medical care, all other confirmed or suspected DU casualties have been and still are being denied medical care. This required medical care must be provided to all exposed individuals independent of whether they are combatants or non-combatants. They must be provided immediate medical care now! The excuses must stop! THE DENIAL OF MEDICAL CARE MUST STOP! But even when very limited medical care has been provided to veterans, including myself, with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disabilities they are billed for their medical care and prescriptions. Then when they refuse to pay the illegal bill they have received formal letters from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials threatening garnishment of their disability check to pay for service connected medical care. This practice must stop.

In addition, the confirmed mismanagement and loss of individual military service medical records and personnel records that has occurred at the U.S Department of Defense National Records and ARPERSCOM / HSC under the command of Colonel Debra Cook, U.S. Army, located in St. Louis Missouri must cease.

As the confirmed Gulf War 1 casualty count that including our nation's finest sons and daughters exceeds 221,000 injured and/or ill with over 10000 dead and the confirmed Gulf War 2 casualty count exceeds 18,004 and over 600 dead as of March 30, 2004 it is time for President George W. Bush, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, and Secretary of Defense William Rumsfeld to solve the problems of denied, delayed, and ineffective medical care. It is time for them to stop the billing of our nation's heroes for medical care they earned while serving our nation!



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