Wednesday, 5 March 2014

US Navy personnel exposed to Fukushima nuclear radiation, medical expenses not covered by DoD/VA

As the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown approaches on March 11th, most people are not aware of the American face of that disaster. Hundreds of US Navy sailors and Marines conducting humanitarian operations nearby were exposed and need financial assistance to pay for their radiation-related medical needs.

Today is the launch of a campaign to help. See video:
After serving their country, these service members went from enjoying young, healthy lives to suffering life-altering illnesses, ranging from leukemia to eye sight loss. Sadly, DoD and VA refuse to pay these medical costs. While officials acknowledge broad nuclear radiation exposure, they insist no sailors were exposed enough to suffer symptoms.

"The system is running away from them, but this is exactly the time that we, as Americans, should be running toward them," said campaign organizer Lt Col (Res) Eric Egland, founder and volunteer president of national 501(c)3 charity Troops Need You, who also served on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. "This is a chance to put 'Love thy Neighbor' into action."

"They just want what any of us would want--standard medical care for radiation-related symptoms, and funds raised are specifically for those costs," he added. 

These former servicemembers are a few of the American faces of Fukushima:

1. Senior Chief Mike Sebourn (Naval Air Base Atsugi, Japan)"This has destroyed my marriage, basically ruined my life," said Mike, a radiation-decontamination officer, who led efforts to measure and reduce radiation. "The detector in my hand read a level over four times that requiring a full mylar suit and respirator--yet I was given only gloves!" Mike needs neurological medical consultations and nerve conductivity testing. 

2. Marine Private Nathan Piekutowski (USS Essex)"I volunteered to go to shore and pass out water," he said. Soon after his exposure to nuclear radiation, the previously healthy 21-year-old lost eyesight, developed leukemia and recently underwent a bone marrow transplant. "I need help with medical expenses," he said. "These treatments are expensive and last a long time."

3. Petty Officer Lindsay Cooper (USS Reagan) "We didn't know there was a radiation risk," she said. After cleaning radiation from the ship's deck, she now suffers from multiple symptoms, and needs to see medical specialists in radiation, thyroid, and fertility. The single mother of a four-year-old daughter added, "I'm afraid to go back to the doctor, but I know I need to go. I just can't afford it." 

SOURCE Troops Need You

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