Vietnam veterans recieve “life-changing” hepatitis C

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Vietnam veterans recieve “life-changing” hepatitis C

Hepatitis C infections occur at a high rate in Vietnam veterans.

While our country was wrapped up in racial tensions, Bernard Croskey, who is African-American said he was serving in the jungles of Vietnam, and a white man saved his life.

“He passed away in my arms and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have children,” Croskey said.

He was given six purple hearts for his service. Croskey said two of which were for his injuries when his plane was shot down on more than one occasion.

“Out of 11 men, only two of us were left when it crashed,” Croskey said.

After seeing countless of his brothers die, he said he started using heroin as a way to cope.

“Nobody in their right mind could just go out and fight, so we were taking pills,” Croskey said.

Croskey picked up hepatitis C as a result of his IV drug use. He said the disease left him feeling nauseous, fatigued and depressed.

“I was throwing up and couldn’t keep nothing down,” Croskey said.

Doctors at the Martinsburg VA said injecting heroin and then contracting hepatitis C is not uncommon for our Vietnam vets because many of them did not think they were coming home.

“Sixty percent of hepatitis C is caused by IV drug use,” Dr. Deborah Bennett said.

Vets are six times more likely to contract hepatitis C than civilians with nearly 7 percent of those who have served suffering with the disease.

“For civilians, across the country [the level of hepatitis C contraction] should be around 1 to 1.7 percent,” Dr. Evelio Bravo said.

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