Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Letter from my friend to the Vice President RE: Health Issues in the Gulf Region

TO: The Honorable Vice President Joseph Biden

FROM:  Trisha Springstead, RN

DATE: March 28, 2011:  


I am a registered nurse licensed in Florida. I trained in medicine at Loma Linda University, UCSB, and Riverside State College. I have over 36 years experience in the medical field in a myriad of specialties and have been clinical educator and administrator for two HMA Hospitals. My husband Richard W. Springstead is an MD and has seen a few of these patients with me.   He is an orthopaedic Surgeon with 35 years and a Graduated from Emory College of Medicine.   He has listened to me talk to these patients and is willing to help but in order to start up a clinic we need assistance for these patients.   Richard and I both have taken the Certification Courses from Metametrix Clinical Labs in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since the beginning of the Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster I have been working with patients from the Gulf States  that are demonstrating a wide variety of serious symptoms of toxic chemical exposure and poisoning.  I currently have over 200 families reporting to me. These families are terribly ill.  They have shortness of breath, horrific skin lesions, neurological impairments, and short term memory loss.  Their immune systems have been highly compromised, they are bleeding from every orifice, bruising is occurring spontaneously, their lung capacities are declining and their hearts are enlarging.  Most are financially so broke that they can not even begin to afford the necessary testing for VOC’s or PAHs, let alone treatment. This truly is a public health crisis that urgently needs to be addressed.

Metametrix Clinical Laboratory is the lab of choice for these people and we are begging for doctors and funding to be able to help these people.  Many of them are going to die quickly, and are dying from undiagnosed poisoning. I assume because there is no insurance coding for “chemical poisoning,” that this is one of the key reasons they are being misdiagnosed with the flu, or mycoplasmic pneumonia, delusional,  due to short term memory loss and confusion from elevated hexane levels, and Polyaromatic  Hydrocarbon levels (from exposure to water, air and the vicarious spraying of Corexit.) Without a defined insurance codes, the doctors can not bill the insurance companies and be reimbursed for their work.    

From the blood test results we have seen, the levels of Hexane in bloods samples is creeping up to the 95th percentiles in the population I’ve been seeing, indicating that the air quality in this area is contributing to the demise of the health of the local population. One of our dearest friends and friends, Lisa Nelson, was a lovely young woman in her 30’s.  She died two weeks ago.  All indications are that it was as a direct result of exposure to Corexit on the beach last September.  I personally know of approx 20 other people who have died or whose deaths are imminent. These people are scared, have families and children who are also becoming ill as the air becomes warmer.   

A large number of the people I am seeing were oil cleanup response workers for the Deepwater Horizon and they are now very ill.  Per my observations, they are consistently being misdiagnosed by ERs, medical clinics and hospitals.  In addition to the lack of the reimbursement insurance coding issue, few doctors and others in the medical profession are educated in Environmental Medicine and this is exacerbating the situation.

From numerous first-hand reports I have received, the spraying of the toxic chemical dispersant called Corexit goes on to this day on the beaches and open waters.  This is completely unacceptable and must be stopped.  I have been told by about over 1OO of the patients reporting to me, that they witnessed Corexit (being sprayed from a boat, a plane and I have my own first-hand experience of watching planes spraying at night in Applachacola and Panama City. I would be happy to meet with you in regard to the above statements and can provide more detailed information, if it is needed (within the legal framework of patient confidentiality laws).


Trisha Springstead, RN MS

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