Overturning a death verdict

Originally published in the January 17, 1997 issue of The Christian Science Monitor

It has come to light recently that several thousand United States troops may have been exposed to highly toxic substances while they were serving in 1991, following the Gulf War. Other news reports have quoted troops as saying that they've suffered various health problems (including what's referred to as Gulf War Syndrome) since their return home from the war.

Reading of this, I recalled how I was exposed to a highly toxic substance while working with cattle. This poison was in a very concentrated pesticide used to protect the animals from heel fly infestations. I spilled a gallon of this on myself while applying it to the cattle, and did not immediately change my clothing. The effects on my health showed up two weeks later in the form of internal bleeding. The prognosis of doctors assigned to my case was that the toxins had caused a form of leukemia. The doctors pronounced that this disease was incurable and that it would be better for me to go home and “die peacefully” rather than undergo further medical treatment.

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