Monday, August 9, 2010

Vietnam veteran exposed to agent orange running out of options, VA won’t budge

A bronze star awarded to Frank Tate of Drums rests next to a map of where the chemical Agent Orange was applied during the Vietnam war. Tate, who saved another Marine's life during the war, and served in areas where Agent Orange was utilized, has cirrhosis of the liver that the Department of Veterans Affairs will not acknowledge as a disease caused by the foliage-destroying chemical.

By Jill Whalen in the StandardSpeaker
Pennsylvania — Frank Tate received the prestigious Bronze Star Medal for dragging two seriously injured Marines across fire-swept terrain in Vietnam as machine gun bullets sailed past him.
More than 30 years later, Tate’s own life needs saving.
The Drums man’s liver has all but completely failed. His body is filling with fluids, and his skin has already turned yellow – a telltale sign of jaundice.
Doctors told him he needs a liver transplant, said his wife, Carol Tate. But none will attempt the procedure, saying the former Marine’s health is too depleted and thus, an operation is too risky.
Frank has seen many doctors, Carol said, and many of them agree: the 59-year-old’s liver cirrhosis was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange, the name given to the herbicide used by the United States during the Vietnam War to destroy foliage that provided cover for the enemy.
What’s frustrating, Frank said, is that the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t acknowledge cirrhosis as a disease caused by Agent Orange.
“They won’t admit to it,” Frank said.
It’s a tough pill for the Tates to swallow.


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