Pulmonologists Unable to Diagnose Without Key Tests
You may watch a video on this topic on the Garfinkel Schwartz YouTube channel called, “Civilian Contractors Should Learn About Constrictive Bronchiolitis.”
I deal with a lot of the medical aspects on our cases. I help do research, and I help find physicians for specific treatments for specific ailments. And today I want to talk to you about a relatively unknown but rapidly increasing diagnosis disease, it’s a respiratory disease called Constrictive Bronchiolitis.
Constrictive Bronchiolitis Destroys Lungs
Again that’s Constrictive Bronchiolitis. It’s also called Constrictive Bronchiolitis Obliterans and that’s a mouthful, but what happens in this respiratory disease is scar tissue develops in the lungs which prevents the cells that absorb oxygen from getting oxygen into your blood.
And this scar tissue, this fibrosis as it’s called, which restricts air flow to your lungs is called by exposure to toxic chemicals.
And while the government denies any link between burn pits and Constrictive Bronchiolitis, the VA just began a registry to track pulmonary diseases and cancer development from exposure to burn pits.
Burn Pits Are This Generation’s Agent Orange
Burn pits are something like this generation’s Agent Orange. On bases, very developed military bases, such as Bagram Air Force
Base in Afghanistan, which at one point housed over 40,000 troops and civilian contractors, all of the trash, tons of trash, metric tons of trash, were burned, just into the air.
And plastic and metal and even instances of human body parts were burned and when the air wafted through over the soldiers it exposed them to many many toxic chemicals, many of which are correlated or linked to forming this scar tissue in this really terrible, terrible respiratory illness.
Symptoms that an individual with COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is similar to Constrictive Bronchiolitis, but because Constrictive Bronchiolitis is such a new development, so many troops are coming home, so many civilian contractors are coming home with these respiratory ailments.
Doctors May Not Know This Disease
Specific Tests Necessary to I.D. Illness
Many pulmonologists don’t exactly know what Constrictive Bronchiolitis is because of its rarity before and it’s very difficult to diagnose.
A normal chest X-ray doesn’t show the specific scar tissue in the small little passage ways in the lungs.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath 2004 published a standard on how to diagnose Constrictive Bronchiolitis or Bronchiolitis Obliterans and they include at first suggest a chest X-ray, that’s the first step and that’s usually inconclusive.
The next step is called spirometry and that’s usually lung volume tests where you blow into the tube and the pulmonologist can figure out if there’s any air that’s being trapped in these passage ways in your lungs.
And the next step is a high resolution computed tomography or a CT scan and what they’ll have you do is breathe in and breathe out during the CT scan to be able to recognize the specific patterns of the scar tissue that are found in Constrictive Bronchiolitis.
And again, specialists even within the field of pulmonology are usually required to make this diagnosis because at one time this was such a rare disease only found in very small populations of individuals.
And now since thousands and thousands of troops are returning home and thousands and thousands of civilian contractors are returning home with symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, an inability to lift or move things, a lack of energy, all of these symptoms may be indicative of constrictive bronchiolitis.
Constrictive Bronchiolitis is Incurable
And once you’ve had those specific tests that include the chest X-ray, spirometry or lung volume the CT scan, if those are all inconclusive but still signs are pointing to a diagnosis of Constrictive Bronchiolitis, which at this point is untreatable, what is necessary sometimes is an invasive lung biopsy where they’ll have to put you under general anesthesia, and take a portion of your lung and look at it through a microscope to see if they can see the patterns that are specific to Constrictive Bronchiolitis and Bronchiolitis Obliterans.
Again, this is these burn pits are strongly associated with a very high correlation between the toxins and the burn pits and the development of severe respiratory illnesses such as Constrictive Bronchiolitis and also developments of cancer as well.
Furthermore, dust storms in sandy areas such as Iraq or Afghanistan, individuals, civilian contractors, exposed to these dust
storms in country, or burn pits in country may develop these very very specific and rare disorders that only a pulmonologist with specialty knowledge could possibly diagnose.
And it’s a very very difficult illness to cope with. At this point it’s untreatable, individuals are unlikely to be able to have a normal life or a normal job.
And here at Garfinkel Schwartz we represent quite a few of these clients and we work very hard to get them the medical care benefits that they deserve.
Part of my job here is to look through medical records and find links between associations with burn pits or dust storms and findings back in the states or findings of doctors in country and link those and furthermore we can refer you to specific pulmonologists who are experts in their field that can do these very specific tests and can work towards an official diagnosis of Constrictive Bronchiolitis.
Bennett Garfinkel Medical Researcher Garfinkel Schwartz
Again my name is Bennett Garfinkel I’m not an attorney or a physician, but I am the medical researcher here at Garfinkel Schwartz to help support these cases with a very difficult, rare and niche areas of medical illnesses found in civilian contractors.
Here at the Maitland offices of Garfinkel Schwartz we’re a four generation family law firm.
My role here as a medical and legal researcher because I’m neither a medical physician nor a lawyer, but I do have some medical training, some research experience and what I do here is I look through medical records and I also research extensively through the scientific literature and find experts in their field.
Physicians that are extremely competent in research in areas of very very specific medical disorders, specifically Constrictive Bronchiolitis which is an extremely rare respiratory illness without a cure.
But that strongly associated—the research shows—that burn pits and the toxic chemicals in burn pits, plus, dust storms and silica can cause severe respiratory illnesses that only an expert in the field can diagnose.