TV: US nuclear workers’ brains eaten away, hallucinating, mental capacity of preschooler — Wife films frightened, trembling husband on deathbed — It’s indescribable what they’ve done and they don’t care — They want you to die — Gov’t Experts: It’s allergies from cats or feathers… or B-12 deficiency — Doctor: Quit helping workers get help
Published: November 21st, 2014 at 3:05 pm ET
KING 5 News, Nov. 20, 2014: Steve Ellingson, a radiation specialist [at Hanford] sought treatment… after he inhaled toxic vapors… Penser North America [administers the DOE insurance system]… The physician paid by Penser… determined “there’s no evidence of work related impairment [and he] most likely encountered an irritating odor”… That physician is Larry Smick… He never met Ellingson in person… His conclusions were based on the review of his medical file… Smick has a longstanding history of dismissing Hanford workers.
KING 5 News transcript, Nov. 20, 2014 (emphasis added): In 2002, Steve Lewis, a Hanford electrician developed burning lungs, chronic nosebleeds… [Dr. Smick] concluded it was allergies from cats or feathers… not vapors vented from the most deadly substance on earth. Did you have allergies before? “I’ve never had an allergy in my life.”… Dr. Smick left a trail of emails showing he was under pressure to keep contractors happy. In an email to his staff… he directed them to quit helping workers get help. “Please do not encourage workers to file compensation claims. We could be invited off the site if that behavior continues.”… A former medical provider that worked under Dr. Smick accused her boss of not putting patient health first, Smick responded… “Occupational medicine is not the same as other types of medicine. You have the business needs of the employer to consider.”
KING 5 News, Oct 14, 2014: Gary Sall… [worked at Hanford] for 28 years… 10 years ago… his brain function got worse and worse. Within 5 years he… could barely speak, hallucinated, and operated on the level of a 4-year-old… Doctors diagnosed him with work-related toxic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disorder… [His wife] Barb documented the suffering in a difficult to watch video taken in 2011… in a hospital bed, trembling and frightened and on a feeding tube… The DOE’s insurer wrote that not Hanford, but alcohol consumption or a B-12 deficiency could be making him sick… He died 3 years ago at the age of 57.
Barbara Sall, Hanford worker: “You totally lose everything… your memories, your mind… Everything’s gone, it’s just a shell… No one should ever see their loved one go through what he went through. It got very, very bad… Once you get sick they get rid of you, you’re no good anymore… [It’s] undescribable what they’ve done to my family. They don’t care. They don’t even know we exist… Washington DC is turning its back on the fact that Hanford… is killing people.”
KING 5 News, Oct. 28, 2014 — Barbara Sall: “It is so scary, and they do nothing about it, and I don’t understand why this is still going on… They don’t think that we’re people.”
Tri City Herald, June 8, 2011: “It’s an awful way to go,” [Sall] said. “It eats your brain away. It turns you into nothing.”… “How many people… have to die before [DOE] is held accountable for what it is doing to workers?” asked Lawrence Rouse, who has the [same] disease.
Al Jazeera, Oct 14, 2014: Terry Wattenburger [age 50]… a few years back, he looked like a football player… cancer and lung disease have taken a toll… [he dropped] to 106 pounds… doctors removed his entire stomach… He struggles with… neuromuscular disorder… stomach cancer… nerve damage… “My immune system is totally compromised”… Jerry Ferson [worked] at Hanford… for nearly 30 years… medical records show… brain dysfunction… toxic encephalopathy… neurotoxicity syndrome… “his limbs are jerking all over, that’s hard for me,” said Linda Ferson, his wife. “But the mental aspect of it is the worst… He can’t remember how to turn the oven on.”… “They don’t want to take care of you,” he said. “They want you to die.”