BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 23 May, 2002, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Court victory for sick Gulf War veteran
Shaun Rusling has won his battle
Shaun Rusling has won his battle
A soldier denied an army pension despite claiming that his Gulf War service made him ill has won a landmark legal victory.

An appeal court ruled that Gulf War syndrome did exist - and was caused by active service.

Many veterans claiming to have the sickness - which can manifest a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, nausea and fevers - have been turned down for army pensions because Ministry of Defence doctors told them there was no such disease.

Now, the decision in the case of Gulf War veteran Shaun Rusling by a pensions appeal tribunal in Leeds could have implications for thousands of others who fought in the Gulf War.

Mr Rusling, from Hull, first appealed to the tribunal nine years ago.

The court has now actually recognised there is a Gulf War illness, something we have been saying for years

James Moore, NGVFA

The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA), of which Mr Rusling is chairman, said his success should help all of those who have been trying for a pension for illness from the Gulf War.

James Moore, treasurer of the NGVFA told BBC News Online: "This is very significant because the court has now actually recognised there is a Gulf War illness, something we have been saying for years."

Turned down

During the Gulf War, Shaun Rusling served as an army medic in the Parachute Regiment, treating the Iraqi wounded at a field hospital inside the Saudi border.


Many veterans have committed suicide after being told by the Ministry of Defence that Gulf War syndrome does not exist

NGVFA
"I was a physically fit man and then I was sent out to the Gulf War. After the war, back in England, I became irritable and aggressive," the father-of-two said.

"I was suffering from fatigue and I was sleeping 24 hours a day and doctors diagnosed Gulf War Syndrome."

He said the Army's response was to label him unfit for duty and give him a medical discharge in 1995.

Marriages 'broken'

The association said many veterans had been diagnosed by their own doctors as having Gulf War syndrome, then applied for a pension only to be turned down by the government's War Pensions Agency.

In a statement, the NGFVA added: "It is now accepted in legal terms that Gulf War syndrome exists and that the Ministry of Defence has been actively trying to cover up the illness of Gulf War syndrome and the serious health problems associated with it.

"Veterans have been financially disadvantaged and had been unable to work.

"Many families have been broken up and marriages and health destroyed by further stress and sadly many veterans have committed suicide after being told by the Ministry of Defence that Gulf War syndrome does not exist."

Mr Rusling said his own marriage broke up because of his ill-health. He has since remarried and has a three-year-old daughter with his second wife.

Implications

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said it was studying the decision and considering "possible implications".

The term Gulf War syndrome has been used to describe a variety of symptoms and illnesses including insomnia, fatigue, headaches, confusing, joint and muscle pain, nausea, swollen glands and fevers.

See also:

15 Jan 99 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes