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Gulf War Illnesses

May 23, 1994

My compliments for your thoughtful, informative editorial (May 10) relating to illnesses reported by returning Gulf War veterans.

As explained in the article, many Gulf War personnel were exposed inadvertently or otherwise to a variety of potentially toxic agents, some of which were administered in hopes of protecting them from still worse toxicities, namely those posed by biological or chemical warfare.

As expected, it has fallen to the federal government and more particularly the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate and resolve the validity of these reports and in so doing hopefully assuage the fears of those with these illness as well as those yet unaffected. One can further anticipate that these efforts will involve extensive, elaborate and costly epidemiologic and clinical surveys, the results of which may be months away.

What deserves publicizing at this point is that individual VA facilities such as ours through participation in the Persian Gulf Veterans Registry Project are keenly aware of these medical problems and are endeavoring to evaluate them and provide therapy when appropriate.

As the coordinator for this project at the Sepulveda VA I can affirm that no Gulf veterans' complaints are dismissed or disregarded and I am confident that this is no less the case at other VA hospitals and clinics.

BASIL CLYMAN MD

Associate Chief of Staff

VA Medical Center, Sepulveda

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