Always Faithful Marines betrayed by government
Almost 1 million people were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune from 1953 through 1987. This includes military veterans and their families as well as the civilians who lived and worked at the base. The contamination was from toxic degreasers, dry cleaning chemicals and various other noxious substances known to cause serious illnesses such as cancer and other disabilities.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says this past exposure likely increased the risk of kidney cancer, leukemia and other types of cancers and has likely resulted in poor health for newborns, children and anyone living on the base at that time.
Victims accuse the US Marine Corps of hiding this problem for years and not taking proper steps to alert people of the potential risk to their health.
You can read this shocking story below.
Zambito is pictured here as a young Marine.
Joseph “Danny” Zambito was 18 when he trained as a Marine in 1964 at Camp Lejeune, where he — like one million others at the base — was exposed to cancer-causing chemicals in one of the worst water contamination cases in U.S. history, spanning more than three decades.
Zambito, now 70, lost both kidneys and his bladder to cancer, but the Florida man said he hasn’t received a single disability benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs — whose anonymous panel of “subject matter experts” renders medical opinions on veterans’ claims their diseases were caused by toxic drinking water at the North Carolina military training base.
“It makes me feel very angry,” said Zambito, who undergoes dialysis four times a week at a center in Zephyrhills. “They’re dragging their feet on this and giving me the runaround.”
“You just want to give up,” added his wife, Judy. “How can you fight the government?”
“You just want to give up. How can you fight the government?”
– Judy Zambito, wife of cancer-stricken Marine
On Monday, the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed an extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of three veterans groups seeking records from the VA about its program for investigating claims. Since the program’s launch three years ago, the rate of Camp Lejeune toxic water disability claims being approved has dropped from approximately 25 percent to 8 percent, according to VA statistics. Advocates for veterans want to know who the purported experts passing judgment on the claims are, and how they arrive at their conclusions.
“There’s been an enormous lack of transparency and it takes various forms,” Rory Minnis, 33, a former Marine and second-year Yale law student, told FoxNews.com Thursday. “We want to know what qualifies them to give opinions on these extremely complicated cases. We want to know what the methodology is that they have in place.”
Minnis and others fear the process is aimed more at limiting claims than giving sickened Marines their due, and perhaps more ominously, could be a blueprint for the military’s handling of similar situations in the future.
“This extends far beyond the issue of Camp Lejeune,” said Minnis, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The VA has referred to it [the program] in close door meetings as the model for the future for toxic exposure claims facing veterans.”…
…Retired Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, founder of The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten — one of the groups seeking information — lived on the base with his family in 1975. Ensminger’s young daughter, Janey, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 6 and died when she was 9. After learning about the water contamination in a local news report years after Janey’s death, Ensminger said he made it his mission to press the government for accountability.
“We have denial decisions with the write-ups from these subject matter experts with citations directly taken from Wikipedia,” Ensminger told FoxNews.com. “These so-called experts are going back and questioning the judgment of the veteran’s own physician, without ever seeing the patient or their medical records.”
“This program was not developed to assist veterans. This program was developed to deny veterans their benefits,” said Ensminger, 63, of White Lake, N.C. “This cannot stand. It’s an atrocity.”…
Source: Fox News Image Source: YourLaywer.com