Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cilla McCain: Dying In Their Sleep: The Invisible Plague Attacking U.S. Soldiers

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cilla-mccain/dying-in-their-sleep-the_b_618429.html

While doing research for the book Murder In Baker Company, I came to know many military family members from the support group "Home of the Brave." The group's goal is to help one another gain information and justice in the noncombat related deaths of their loved ones. According to the Department of Defense nearly 1 out of 4 fatalities in the military are noncombat related.

Stan and Shirley White of West Virginia represent one of the "Home of the Brave" families. Three of their four children have served in the armed forces. Two have died because of their time in war. On September 26, 2005, their son Robert, an Army Staff Sergeant, was killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan. On February 12, 2008, their youngest son, 23 year-old Marine Corporal Andrew White died in his sleep after being treated for PTSD with lethal prescription drugs.

Struggling with PTSD compounded by grief over the death of his brother, Andrew sought help from VA doctors. Their first line of defense was to prescribe him 20 mg. of Paxil, 4 mg of Klonopin and 50 mg of Seroquel. These medications helped at first, but later proved ineffective. Instead of changing the course of treatment, the doctors responded by continually increasing his dosage until the Seroquel alone reached a whopping 1600 mg per day. Within weeks of Andrew's death, three more young West Virginia veterans died while being treated for PTSD with the same drugs, prompting Stan and Shirley White to begin a mission to find out what the deaths have in common.

"When we first learned of the other West Virginia soldiers who died in their sleep," Stan says. "We thought it must be a reaction to biological warfare, we thought they must have been exposed to something in Iraq and now it is killing them."

Indeed, if you conduct an internet search with the phrase "soldier found dead" the results are staggering. Narrow it down even further by including the phrase "unexplained" and you will begin to get a glimpse of what some would call an epidemic.

When the White's received Andrew's autopsy report, the official cause was listed as "accidental intoxication of Seroquel, Paxil, and pain medication." Andrew had not committed suicide, nor did he take his medication in a manner it was not prescribed. Death, as it turned out, is a potential side effect of Seroquel. The doctors and the pharmaceutical company knew that, however nobody told Andrew, despite the fact that he was experiencing many of Seroquel's most serious side effects.

In the 11-months Andrew was taking Seroquel, he gained 40 lbs., suffered from tremors, severe constipation and swelling of the mammary glands. Before his death, a VA doctor referred Andrew to an endocrinologist for tests to determine the cause of his symptoms, even though it is clearly stated in Seroquel's literature that all of this can be caused by using the drug.

Andrew passed away before the appointment.

more here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cilla-mccain/dying-in-their-sleep-the_b_618429.html


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home