Atomic and nuclear weapon warfare is a legitimate concern for soldiers of yesterday and today.  Our soldiers have been faced with the uncertainty of its after effects for over 60 years.  In fact, it has been reported that roughly 220,000 soldiers were exposed to radiation in the 1940's and 50's. 

The destructive nature of these weapons not only harm the targeted enemy, it also has harrowing consequences for those who were not targeted, namely radiation poisoning.  A detonation of any atomic or nuclear weapon, despite its size, poses grave, immediate and long-term consequences due to the release of radiation.  (It's not uncommon for those who research and test these weapons to also suffer from the negative effects of radiation sickness.)   

"What is radiation exposure?" 

The clinical name for radiation exposure, acute radiation syndrome, or radiation poisoning, is a disabling injury that occurs after a soldier has been exposed to a one-time, usually very large dose, of ionizing radiation.

A veteran suffering from radiation poisoning may wonder, "How exactly did this happen?"

Radiation exposure can occur from obvious sources, as well as subtle sources.  The most obvious offenders are direct nuclear warfare, improper handling, or exposure from direct contact.  It's also possible that a veteran's disability due to radiation exposure came from indirect sources such as simply being near testing facilities.  It's also possible that a veteran was not near the detonation point but was affected by fallout.  The waste matter following a nuclear explosion can exist in the atmosphere for long periods of time, leaving soldiers without proper protection highly vulnerable to the elements through direct contact, ingestion, inhalation, absorption, etc. 

Immediately after a soldier comes into contact with a large dose of ionizing radiation there will usually be symptoms or indicators of radiation poisoning. While most soldiers and veterans are well aware of the dangers of radiation, there still may be some question as to "What are the signs or symptoms of radiation poisoning?"

The primary symptoms include nausea and vomiting, headache, fatigue and weakness in the body.  Depending on the amount of exposure- mild, moderate or severe- can determine the extent and severity of the symptoms and the time frame for the onset of the symptoms.  In each instance of grand exposure, the chance of survival is cut by 50%.  Long-term exposure or survivors of radiation exposure can experience varying forms of cancer and tumor growth, developmental problems and reproduction trouble.

The most important question that needs to be answered after exposure: "Is there treatment for disabled veterans who were exposed to radiation?"

Treatment and legal remedies are available for disabled veterans and soldiers who were exposed to radiation.  Any veteran that has suffered from the effects associated with ionizing radiation should immediately contact a qualified physician within the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin testing and treatment.

With regard to legal assistance, disabled veterans now have the choice to choose which veteran's disability lawyer they'd like to represent them--this was not always the case.  There have been claims that the Pentagon has withheld information with regard to radiation exposure that could help a disabled vet receive their benefits.  A top disability lawyer can help a veteran over come this obstacle.


James R. Keller
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