The Dark Shadow of Agent Orange

Dark Shadow of Agent Orange

See the New York Times 2014 video on the legacy of Agent Orange.

By this ill-conceived policy we provided the communists in Vietnam the moral basis to win, if even by default. While my best friend Dr. Poff as we knew him and others worked to win the minds and hearts of the Vietnamese people, providing medical help to the Vietnamese, my leaders were spraying on all of us, a legacy of horror, for many in Vietnam and for the veterans who fought in that war.

For over 44 years I have slowly become VA recognized 100% disabled from AO as it has slowly damaged my peripheral nerves (motor and sensory; small and large fiber; myelin and axon damage) and like so many others including the children of Vietnam, severely reduced my ability to function every day. But we are the fortunate ones, as so many have had their lives totally destroyed by ALL the cancers it causes, not just the ones the VA wants to recognize because some in power DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

In 2014, this video was published by the New York Times.  It says it all and shows the double talk by so many in power to protect the chemical companies over Agent Orange.Click here to see the video

Beyond the cancers and other acceptable diseases caused by Agent Orange, it is imperative that medical professionals understand that extremely painful neuropathy is not something that should be ignored or dismissed by medical practitioners.  While many highly respected neurologists continue to deny that Agent Orange could cause chronic neuropathy, finally in 2012 the VA began to recognize the obvious about chronic neuropathy and Agent Orange with the recognition by the National Institute of Health.

Today, the VA still insists on talking about neuropathy being diagnosed in the decades after Vietnam. Medical science could not even recognize the symptoms let alone diagnose it. The requirement for the veteran to prove early onset at the 10% disabling level within one year of exposure is unrealistic basis on facts about the difficulty of diagnosis even in 2014!  This is an unrealistic requirement imposed by the VA creating yet more legal hurdles for veterans.

Truth does set you free.

About the Author

LtCol Eugene B Richardson, USA (Retired) BA, MDiv, EdM, MS

Col Richardson has suffered with severe neuropathy for over 45 years. A 27 year military veteran and veteran of the Vietnam War, he was diagnosed with a progressive chronic peripheral neuropathy resulting in severe disability. This diagnosis has been confirmed as due to exposure to Agent Orange. It was not until 2010, 42 years after his exposure to Agent Orange, that his diagnosis was recognized by Veterans Affairs as service connected.

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  1. Great article. I am 100% with the VA over CLL; but I also suffer neuropathy from a severe shingles outbreak. The doctors do not have an answer for easing the pain that I have suffered for over 15 months at this time. While my local VA clinic physician is a real gem – dedicated, knowledgeable, thorough, etc. – the VA bureaucratic overseas all actions. A recently approved CLL drug by the FDA, which I tried to get but was told: just approved by the FDA, not in our formulary, would not be in the VA formulary for at least six months, and you must have had at least one prior treatment (chemo) before being eligible for the new drug. While true that the FDA approved the drug (Ibrutinib) as a second line for CLL treatment, a trip to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, revealed that owing to age and a genetic abnormality, chemo would be a second choice to the Ibrutinib. Bureaucracy in action!

    1. Bob. Why do I fully understand. Some things never change. If you have not received our guidance to win against the VA position on Neuropathy, send us an e mail at and we will give you some guidance. The VA laws requirement of early-onset is bogus, as medical science could not recognize the symptoms and diagnose it back in those decades and even have trouble in 2014! We have the references to substantiate these facts that you can put into your claim. Gene

    1. Steve I did receive your message in our website and have responded to your request for information. Sorry about the technical glitch… Gene

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