THE MEDICAL POST
VOLUME 38, NO. 27, July 16, 2002
By Karen Birchard
LONDON – A British appeal tribunal has ruled that Gulf War syndrome is real and was caused by active service during the war.
Ministry of Defence doctors have maintained there was no such sickness, meaning that thousands of soldiers were unable to qualify for army pensions.
The case was taken by Gulf War veteran Shaun Rusling who appealed the initial ruling to the pensions appeal tribunal nine years ago. The ruling may have widespread and costly implications for the British government. The Ministry of Defence said it is studying the judgment.
The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association said this ruling should help all Gulf War veterans who have been trying for a pension for illness. James Moore, treasurer of the association told BBC News: "This is very significant because the court has now actually recognized there is a Gulf War illness, something we have been saying for years."
In a statement, the association added: "It is now accepted in legal terms that Gulf War syndrome exists and that the Ministry of Defence has been actively trying to cover up the illness of Gulf War syndrome and the serious health problems associated with it.
"Veterans have been financially disadvantaged and had been unable to work. Many families have been broken up and marriages and health destroyed by further stress, and sadly many veterans have committed suicide after being told by the Ministry of Defence that Gulf War syndrome does not exist."
According to the association, many veterans had been diagnosed by their own doctors as having Gulf War syndrome but when they then applied for a pension they were turned down by the government's war pensions agency.
Received via Co-Cure