Former VA researcher raises ethics concerns

AP News
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Posted: Mar 13, 2013 6:58 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two health researchers are telling a House panel that the Department of Veterans Affairs has continually minimized the problem of Gulf War illness in veterans and failed to develop a focused research program.

One of the researchers, Dr. Steven Coughlin, says he's also concerned that the VA had been resistant to following up with veterans whose participation in research studies indicated they are potentially suicidal.

Coughlin, who worked at the VA until December, said nearly 2,000 participants in a recent study of 60,000 tracking veterans' health told researchers they had thought they would be better off dead. However, only a small percentage got a call back from a clinician.

In a statement, the VA said research on Gulf War veterans has been a priority and continues to be.