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Re: [owcp] Re. Critical Mass

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  • Felicia
    If we are looking for volunteers who have been badly treated by the Peace Corps, the Lariam toxicity group that I m on has tons. While they add numbers,
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 12, 2007
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      If we are looking for volunteers who have been badly
      treated by the Peace Corps, the Lariam toxicity group that
      I'm on has tons. While they add numbers, though, they
      take away credibility. Since next to none of us can prove
      that Lariam caused our condition (although at least there
      are studies out there now that prove that it causes the
      brain damage that all of us suffer from), we look more
      often like a bunch of cranks. Of course, the Peace Corps
      doesn't help with that, since they are the first ones to
      call us liars. -- Felicia

      >
      > In a message dated 7/11/2007 1:41:44 P.M. Eastern Standard
      > Time,
      > rpcv@... writes:
      >
      > Sue,
      >
      > You mentioned that your caseworker said point blank that
      > until there is
      > a critical mass
      > nothing will change. The problem is how to reach that
      > critical mass.
      > Since there is no centralized place (or person) that we
      > can go to for
      > assistance, it's extremely difficult to even approach
      > critical mass.
      > With 12 OWCP District Offices, 100 Senators, and 435
      > Representatives,
      > how much more decentralized could the system be? As you
      > may know, the
      > former Peace Corps Director nixed the idea of an
      > ombudsman to assist us.
      > I wonder if the new Director, Ron Tschetter, would be
      > amenable to
      > resurrecting the idea. Maybe we should ask?
      >
      > Kevin
      >
      >
      >
      > Senator Schumer's office (US Senate (D) NY), which submits
      > my medical
      > claims, is also willing to investigate this issue but
      > needs critical mass, as well.
      > And I had a contact at NBC a while back who wished to do a
      > feature on this
      > but needed a number of people willing to come forward.
      > That's when I began to
      > want to get this group going and Kevin came forward with
      > his willingness to
      > do so. I don't believe anymore that Peace Corps will
      > really ever become
      > accountable to us unless they are somehow "shamed" into
      > doing so, so to speak. I
      > really wonder how many of there actually are and how we
      > can go about bringing
      > our concerns to the correct body to create positive
      > change?
      >
      > I know that speaking for myself I have a tendency to just
      > try to get my own
      > health and life together when I am in crisis and then when
      > that passes I just
      > want to leave all this behind me and move my life forward.
      > It is hard to find
      > the right time in my own life to actually go forward in
      > the correct manner
      > and speak out. I am on some kind of road to health
      > stabilization and am
      > changing my career to accommodate my illnesses so maybe
      > once I accomplish that I
      > won't be so reticent to really move forward and consider
      > going to press.
      >
      > Nancy Tongue
      >
      > Ideas?
      >
      >
      >
      > ************************************** Get a sneak peak of
      > the all-new AOL at
      > http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour
      >
    • Kevin
      Felicia, Please remind me: 1. Did you have symptoms during your PC service? If so, do you have substantially similar symptoms now or a documented progression
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 12, 2007
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        Felicia,

        Please remind me:

        1. Did you have symptoms during your PC service? If so, do you have
        substantially similar symptoms now or a documented progression of those
        symptoms?

        2. Do you receive or have you received any medical or disability
        benefits from OWCP?

        Thanks.

        Kevin

        --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, "Felicia" <felicia@...> wrote:
        >
        > If we are looking for volunteers who have been badly
        > treated by the Peace Corps, the Lariam toxicity group that
        > I'm on has tons. While they add numbers, though, they
        > take away credibility. Since next to none of us can prove
        > that Lariam caused our condition (although at least there
        > are studies out there now that prove that it causes the
        > brain damage that all of us suffer from), we look more
        > often like a bunch of cranks. Of course, the Peace Corps
        > doesn't help with that, since they are the first ones to
        > call us liars. -- Felicia
      • Felicia
        ... Yes, I was eventually medically separated because of this problem. ... Yes. Lariam toxicity typically is cyclical, though, so I go through phases. ...
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 12, 2007
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          > 1. Did you have symptoms during your PC service?

          Yes, I was eventually medically separated because of this
          problem.

          > If so,
          > do you have
          > substantially similar symptoms now or a documented
          > progression of those
          > symptoms?

          Yes. Lariam toxicity typically is cyclical, though, so I
          go through phases.

          > 2. Do you receive or have you received any medical or
          > disability
          > benefits from OWCP?

          Yes, I receive both time loss payments and
          medical/psychiatric coverage from OWCP. This, I believe,
          is because I made a huge stink when I was in DC before my
          medical separation. I was so emotionally unstable that I
          knew (and I was right) that there was no way that I'd be
          able to work. I told them that I'd end up homeless if
          they sent me away in that condition. The Peace Corps said
          that my illness was because of my service, although the
          psychologist in DC never mentioned Lariam. Here we are
          three years later and my psychologist tells me not to even
          think about work, as it will be years before I will have
          recovered enough. Although in the last few months, I have
          found that my ability to think is coming back, which gives
          me hope that recovery is possible.

          My problem with the OWCP is mainly small things, like
          billing issues, combined with the larger problem of the
          Peace Corps not talking about the damage that Lariam does.
          It is an uphill battle to get anyone to take my condition
          seriously, but I am far luckier than most Lariam victims.
          Most cannot get any disability, have much more severe
          psychological and health problems, and are still trying to
          work. -- Felicia
        • Kevin
          Nancy, I m willing to provide my story. Is anyone else? Did the Senator s staff give you any idea of the numbers that would be required to move ahead with an
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 13, 2007
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            Nancy,

            I'm willing to provide my story. Is anyone else? Did the Senator's
            staff give you any idea of the numbers that would be required to move
            ahead with an investigation?

            Kevin

            > --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, FourDirect@ wrote:
            Senator Schumer's office last fall said that they would like some
            stories and numbers and then they would decide what they would do
            regarding possible investigations.
          • Kevin
            Hi Felicia, Thank you for putting up with my questions. I know most of what I asked was redundant; I was just too lazy to read through several old messages to
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 13, 2007
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              Hi Felicia,

              Thank you for putting up with my questions.  I know most of what I asked was redundant; I was just too lazy to read through several old messages to find the answers.

              The reasons I asked what I did, particularly those questions in item 1, was to get a feel for when and how the adverse effects of Lariam arise.

              In my opinion, you and other persons in your situation should not be asked by Peace Corps or OWCP to "prove" that Lariam was the underlying cause of your condition.  It's irrelevant.  As the OIG noted in his report, the [FECA] regulations provide for a presumption that any injury sustained by a Volunteer while he or she is located abroad has been sustained in the performance of duty, and any illness contracted by aVolunteer during Peace Corps service is proximately caused by the employment.

              Early on, I too was asked to prove that my condition (asthma) was caused by some environmental factor in Yemen.  OWCP quickly backed off when my Congressman at the time called them on it.  I don't know if claims examiners are so poorly trained that they don't know the special regulations for former Volunteers, or if trying to saddle the claimant with the burden of proof is just a tactic to get people to withdraw their claims.

              Kevin

              --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, "Felicia" <felicia@...> wrote:
              >
              > > 1. Did you have symptoms during your PC service?
              >
              > Yes, I was eventually medically separated because of this
              > problem.
              >
              > > If so,
              > > do you have
              > > substantially similar symptoms now or a documented
              > > progression of those
              > > symptoms?
              >
              > Yes. Lariam toxicity typically is cyclical, though, so I
              > go through phases.
              >
              > > 2. Do you receive or have you received any medical or
              > > disability
              > > benefits from OWCP?
              >
              > Yes, I receive both time loss payments and
              > medical/psychiatric coverage from OWCP. This, I believe,
              > is because I made a huge stink when I was in DC before my
              > medical separation. I was so emotionally unstable that I
              > knew (and I was right) that there was no way that I'd be
              > able to work. I told them that I'd end up homeless if
              > they sent me away in that condition. The Peace Corps said
              > that my illness was because of my service, although the
              > psychologist in DC never mentioned Lariam. Here we are
              > three years later and my psychologist tells me not to even
              > think about work, as it will be years before I will have
              > recovered enough. Although in the last few months, I have
              > found that my ability to think is coming back, which gives
              > me hope that recovery is possible.
              >
              > My problem with the OWCP is mainly small things, like
              > billing issues, combined with the larger problem of the
              > Peace Corps not talking about the damage that Lariam does.
              > It is an uphill battle to get anyone to take my condition
              > seriously, but I am far luckier than most Lariam victims.
              > Most cannot get any disability, have much more severe
              > psychological and health problems, and are still trying to
              > work. -- Felicia
              >

            • Felicia
              You are correct. I often point this out to volunteers who are trying to get medical coverage, as they often fixate on Lariam. My problem isn t that I don t
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 13, 2007
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                You are correct. I often point this out to volunteers who
                are trying to get medical coverage, as they often fixate
                on Lariam. My problem isn't that I don't get coverage,
                but that the Peace Corps is the largest user in the world
                of this medication and they deny that it causes problems.
                Most doctors just want to say that I have depression or
                that I'm neurotic and lazy. If the Peace Corps were to
                say "Yes, Lariam can cause long term problems" then I'd
                have better luck getting doctors to look harder at my
                problems. Luckily, my psychologist is convinced that
                Lariam has caused this weird collection of cognitive,
                emotional, vision and balance problems that I have. Does
                that make sense? Please feel free to ask more questions.
                -- Felicia

                > Thank you for putting up with my questions. I know most
                > of what I asked
                > was redundant; I was just too lazy to read through several
                > old messages
                > to find the answers.
                >
                > The reasons I asked what I did, particularly those
                > questions in item 1,
                > was to get a feel for when and how the adverse effects of
                > Lariam arise.
                >
                > In my opinion, you and other persons in your situation
                > should not be
                > asked by Peace Corps or OWCP to "prove" that Lariam was
                > the underlying
                > cause of your condition. It's irrelevant. As the OIG
                > noted in his
                > report, the [FECA] regulations provide for a presumption
                > that any injury
                > sustained by a Volunteer while he or she is located abroad
                > has been
                > sustained in the performance of duty, and any illness
                > contracted by
                > aVolunteer during Peace Corps service is proximately
                > caused by the
                > employment.
                >
                > Early on, I too was asked to prove that my condition
                > (asthma) was caused
                > by some environmental factor in Yemen. OWCP quickly
                > backed off when my
                > Congressman at the time called them on it. I don't know
                > if claims
                > examiners are so poorly trained that they don't know the
                > special
                > regulations for former Volunteers, or if trying to saddle
                > the claimant
                > with the burden of proof is just a tactic to get people to
                > withdraw
                > their claims.
                >
                > Kevin
                >
                >
                > --- In owcp@yahoogroups.com, "Felicia" <felicia@...>
                > wrote:
                >>
                >> > 1. Did you have symptoms during your PC service?
                >>
                >> Yes, I was eventually medically separated because of
                >> this
                >> problem.
                >>
                >> > If so,
                >> > do you have
                >> > substantially similar symptoms now or a documented
                >> > progression of those
                >> > symptoms?
                >>
                >> Yes. Lariam toxicity typically is cyclical, though, so I
                >> go through phases.
                >>
                >> > 2. Do you receive or have you received any medical or
                >> > disability
                >> > benefits from OWCP?
                >>
                >> Yes, I receive both time loss payments and
                >> medical/psychiatric coverage from OWCP. This, I believe,
                >> is because I made a huge stink when I was in DC before
                >> my
                >> medical separation. I was so emotionally unstable that I
                >> knew (and I was right) that there was no way that I'd be
                >> able to work. I told them that I'd end up homeless if
                >> they sent me away in that condition. The Peace Corps
                >> said
                >> that my illness was because of my service, although the
                >> psychologist in DC never mentioned Lariam. Here we are
                >> three years later and my psychologist tells me not to
                >> even
                >> think about work, as it will be years before I will have
                >> recovered enough. Although in the last few months, I
                >> have
                >> found that my ability to think is coming back, which
                >> gives
                >> me hope that recovery is possible.
                >>
                >> My problem with the OWCP is mainly small things, like
                >> billing issues, combined with the larger problem of the
                >> Peace Corps not talking about the damage that Lariam
                >> does.
                >> It is an uphill battle to get anyone to take my
                >> condition
                >> seriously, but I am far luckier than most Lariam
                >> victims.
                >> Most cannot get any disability, have much more severe
                >> psychological and health problems, and are still trying
                >> to
                >> work. -- Felicia
                >>
                >
                >
                >
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