Veterans Affairs Mails ALS Diagnoses To Wrong People
The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department has told at leat 1,200 veterans that they have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, by mistake.
Letters concerning disability benefits for people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) were sent to 2,500 veterans, but at least 1,200 of them have not been diagnosed with the illness. The mistake is said to be due to a coding error. The Veteran Affairs Department says only a handful veterans have contacted them about the error. The VA promises to issue personal apologies to all the people who received the letters, and assure them that they do not have ALS.
"VA is immediately reviewing the individual claims files for all the recipients of this letter to identify those who received the notification in error," the VA said in a statement Monday night.
The VA officially made ALS compensable for veterans with at least 90 days of service in the U.S. military in September 2008, as it was shown that the prevalence of ALS was higher among the retired soldiers than the rest of the population.
Lou Gehrig's disease damages neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The disease is progressive and fatal. It is called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees player Lou Gehrig, who died from the disease in 1941, at age 37. Scientist Stephen Hawking is the best known living person with ALS.