Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wire: Govt. Mistake Informs 1200 Military Vets They Have Fatal Disease

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2009 -- Newswire services yesterday reported that at least 1,200 veterans across the country have been mistakenly told by the U.S. Veterans Administration that they suffer from a fatal neurological disease.

The National Gulf War Resource Center said the VA sent letters to those veterans informing them they had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Modern Healthcare reported Monday.

The center posted a statement on its Web site saying the mistake proved costly for many veterans, who went to private health care providers for a second opinion.

"This second opinion outside of the VA is very expensive and can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more," the center said.

A report by UPI noted that the center said the VA should reimburse veterans who spent money to determine whether they have ALS, and that the agency "has an obligation" to get the word to veterans that they should not be "overly alarmed."

Calls by The Associated Press to the VA were not immediately returned Monday.

Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, is a rapidly progressive disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles.

(Report from newswire sources.)

NOTE: Updated 9:30 am for blurry-eyed morning typos.

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