Soldiers who died from hepatitis C are now added to the Vietnam Memorial.
The Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, but it continues to claim military lives. Nearly every spring new names are etched into the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which pays tribute to the more than 58,000 service members who lost their lives.
Jim McGough is one of them. As a 19-year-old infantry soldier in 1971, Army Specialist McGough was with members of his unit near the Laotian border when came under fire. A grenade exploded nearby, tearing apart his feet and lower legs. McGough was taken by medevac to Okinawa, where he underwent surgery, including a transfusion to replace the blood he had lost. Unable to wear army boots after the injury, he was shipped back to the United States, where he married his high school sweetheart, Sheryl Isaacson. They settled down near their hometown of Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Twenty years passed before McGough, who worked in magazine advertising sales, learned that he had hepatitis C, a bloodborne viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause scarring, called cirrhosis, as well as liver cancer. The virus only was discovered in 1989, and routine testing of the blood supply began shortly afterward. It was about that time that McGough, a regular blood donor, learned he had been infected. He’d never used intravenous drug or gotten tattoos — common routes of infection — so the McGoughs figured Jim must have contracted the virus when he had the blood transfusion in Japan.
|Read Full Article: Vietnam Veteran Killed by Hepatitis C Now Memorialized, Too : Shots – Health News : NPR|