Back
 OJEM  Vol.7 No.2 , June 2019
Critical Analysis of the Healthcare Response to Burn-Pit-Related Illnesses for Post-9/11 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
Abstract: A serious concern among post-9/11 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans (IAV) are health conditions from military and environmental exposure while serving. Many veterans are becoming suddenly ill and experiencing symptoms that have been associated with exposure to burning trash or “burn pits” set up to destroy waste produced by the military. IAVs are exhibiting respiratory conditions and other numerous health issues from exposure to burn pits during deployments. From the US military operations to the Middle East, 70% of the military personnel reported respiratory illnesses, with 17% experiencing symptoms serious enough to require medical care. Despite growing concerns, little research has been conducted on the health conditions of returning veterans. Many veterans have difficulty gaining appropriate access to care, unable to travel long distances to Veterans health facility, or have to deal with long wait times to see a provider. As a result, many veterans utilize civilian emergency rooms and healthcare facilities. Most healthcare facilities are not familiar with military-related health conditions. To address and prevent delays in care, it is helpful to have a veteran-specific screener questionnaire at the point of healthcare access. Getting a better understanding of the background and history of veterans can aid in accurately triaging this community and lead to better health care outcomes. Collecting and maintaining data regarding health issues that can arise from burn pit exposures can help direct the care of this specific community of veterans. In seeking to improve the understanding of IAV health issues from exposure to burn pits, the aim of this article is to help educate and raise awareness, and assist health care professionals to better triage and direct the care or resources necessary to help this underserved and at-risk community of our veterans.
Cite this paper: Lim, P. and Tayyeb, A. (2019) Critical Analysis of the Healthcare Response to Burn-Pit-Related Illnesses for Post-9/11 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Open Journal of Emergency Medicine, 7, 17-27. doi: 10.4236/ojem.2019.72003.
References

[1]   Goepner, E. (2018) War State, Trauma State: Why Afghanistan Remains Stuck in Conflict.
https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/war-state-trauma-state-why-afghanistan-remains-stuck-conflict

[2]   Institute of Medicine (2011) Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2011/Long-Term-Health-Consequences-of-Exposure-to-Burn-Pits-in-Iraq-and-Afghanistan.aspx

[3]   Savitz, D.A., Styka, A.N. and Butler, D.A. (2017) Assessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
https://doi.org/10.17226/23677

[4]   Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) (2019) Drive Support for Inju-ries from Burn Pits and Other Toxic Exposures.
https://iava.org/initiate-support-for-injuries-from-burn-pits-and-other-toxic-exposures/

[5]   Johnson, B.S., Boudiab, L.D., Freundl, M., Anthony, M., Gmerek, G.B. and Carter, J. (2013) Enhancing Veteran-Centered Care. American Journal of Nursing, 113, 24-39.

[6]   Pugh, M.J., Jaramillo, C.A., Leung, K., Faverio, P., Fleming, N., Mortensen, E. and Morris, M.J. (2016) Increasing Prevalence of Chronic Lung Disease in Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military Medicine, 181, 476-481.
https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00035

[7]   Szema, A., Mirsaidi, N., Patel, B., Viens, L., Forsyth, E., Li, J. and Burns, M. (2015) Proposed Iraq/Afghanistan War-Lung Injury (IAW-LI) Clinical Practice Recommendations: National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine Burn Pits Workshop. American Journal of Men’s Health, 11, 1653-1663.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988315619005

[8]   Falvo, M.J., Helmer, D.A., Klein, J.C., Osinubi, O.Y., Ndirangu, D., Patrick-Deluca, L.A. and Sotolongo, A.M. (2016) Isolated Diffusing Capacity Reduction Is a Common Clinical Presentation in Deployed Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with Deployment-Related Environmental Exposures. The Clinical Respiratory Journal, 12, 795-798.
https://doi.org/10.1111/crj.12552

[9]   Krefft, S.D., Meehan, R. and Rose, C.S. (2015) Emerging Spectrum of Deployment-Related Respiratory Diseases. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, 21, 185-192.
https://doi.org/10.1097/MCP.0000000000000143

[10]   Liu, J., Lezama, N., Gasper, J., Kawata, J., Morley, S., Helmer, D. and Ciminera, P. (2016) Burn Pit Emissions Exposure and Respiratory and Cardiovascular Conditions among Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry Participants. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58, e249-e255.

[11]   Barth, S.K., Dursa, E.K., Bossarte, R. and Schneiderman, A. (2016) Lifetime Prevalence of Respiratory Diseases and Exposures among Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 58, 1175-1180.

[12]   King, M.S., Eisenberg, R., Newman, J.H., Tolle, J.J., Harrell, F.E., Nian, H. and Miller, R.F. (2011) Constrictive Bronchiolitis in Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. New England Journal of Medicine, 365, 222-230.
https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1101388

[13]   Lentz, R.J., Fessel, J.P., Johnson, J.E., Maldonado, F., Miller, R.F. and Rickman, O.B. (2016) Transbronchial Cryobiopsy Can Diagnose Constrictive Bronchiolitis in Veterans of Recent Conflicts in the Middle East. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 193, 806-808.
https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201509-1724LE

[14]   Kingsbery, J. and Poles, J. (2018) Mo1054—Eosinophilic Esophagitis Following Exposure to Burn Pits during Military Deployment. Gastroenterology, 154, S-685.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0016-5085(18)32415-6

[15]   Chiaramonte, P. (2018) Burn-Pit Exposure Likely Leads to Higher Cancer Mortality Rate among Army Vets: New study.
https://www.foxnews.com/us/burn-pit-exposure-likely-leads-to-higher-cancer-mortality-rate-among-army-vets-new-study

[16]   Wiedinmyer, C., Yokelson, R.J. and Gullett, B.K. (2014) Global Emissions of Trace Gases, Particulate Matter, and Hazardous Air Pollutants from Open Burning of Domestic Waste. Environmental Science & Technology, 48, 9523-9530.
https://doi.org/10.1021/es502250z

[17]   (2018) As If You’re Inhaling Your Death: The Health Risks of Burning Waste in Lebanon.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/12/01/if-youre-inhaling-your-death/health-risks-burning-waste-lebanon

[18]   Burn Pits 360 (n.d.)
https://www.burnpits360.org/

[19]   Abbasi, J. (2017) National Academies Report Cites Flaws in VA’s Burn Pit Registry. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 317, 1614.
https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2017.4509

[20]   Intake Questions (n.d.)
http://www.haveyoueverserved.com/intake-questions.html

[21]   (2019) Supreme Court Rejects Appeal over Military Burn Pits.
https://www.apnews.com/bd2443b13c844d60b8d37125ca3ab8bf

 
 
Top