During the Vietnam War, the U.S. used an herbicide known as Agent Orange as a military tactic. American soldiers in planes sprayed more than 20 million gallons of the herbicide over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – in order to destroy crops and eliminate tree cover in forests.
This controversial tactic – which is no longer used by the U.S. military – devastated the health of millions of Vietnamese civilians and U.S. veterans alike. It can cause a range of malignant cancers, as well as serious nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease. It is now becoming understood that exposure to the toxic substance can lead to health defects being passed on to children, as well.
Birth defects in children of veterans
In the U.S., many children of Vietnam veterans were born with a medical condition known as spina bifida. This is a disorder in which the baby develops in utero without a completely closed spine. Babies born with this condition will need to undergo surgery right away to prevent infection and help to preserve any spinal function that exists.
However, damage can last a lifetime. Patients may experience paralysis, nerve damage as well as bowel and bladder problems. They may also have to undergo expensive medical care throughout their lives. In addition, spina bifida can shorten the life expectancy of patients.
These are terrible consequences for any family to have to face. Knowing that such tragedy was preventable can make it all the more difficult to bear. While Veteran’s Administration benefits may be available to such families, they may be insufficient in covering the full scope of damages endured. Families in such a position may want to explore other legal pathways to recovery.