Health consequences of the BP Oil Spill were ignored from the get-go as people worked to clean-up it up. No training, equipment, or health consequence awareness was issued to workers. Physicians began seeing them as patients with symptoms common-place to other illnesses, but chemical illness due to oil exposure causes cascading health effects that become chronic if not treated properly from the beginning. Occupational medical physicians are the specialists in this field are in short supply, and the public was never properly notified of what to do or who to see at the onset of specific symptoms. Furthermore, in the ICD-10 codes which listed the diagnosis for chemical illness was not adopted by Congress until 2015, well after the spill, even though this version was available before the spill. Therefore, this diagnosis was not available to physicians who then attributed the symptoms and treatments to other illnesses. Lastly, no medical protocol advisory for chemical illnesses was ever published to notify the medical community.
BP was required to fund a PERIODIC MEDICAL CONSULTATION PROGRAM (PMCP) through the GULF REGION HEALTH OUTREACH PROGRAM they established. The PMCP program entitled qualified class members to an initial consultation visit and a subsequent medical consultation visit once every 3 years, for a period of 21 years; however, what it did not provide was medical monitoring and treatment. In short, it only allowed for a basic one-time diagnosis. Additionally, only those who qualified as a class member through the cutoff date had the ability to enroll in this program; i.e. the victims suffering and/or diagnosed after the cutoff date did not qualify . Out of 27,472 PMCP enrollees, less than 3,500 physician appointments were scheduled.
According to Dr. Michael Robichaux and toxicologist Wilma Subra, the real list of health symptoms associated with BP crude and dispersants did not even match the health list devised by BP and are easily treatable and cost effective such as a runny nose and facial pressure and vastly different than those observed by Dr. Robichaux.
As victims across the gulf coast began getting ill with many becoming disabled, no longer able to work and hustling for medical care, BP began its legal battle to minimize its liability. In the 2014 settlement agreement, they used the word manifested instead of diagnosed which was overlooked by the plaintiff lawyers to throw out any plaintiff that did not get a diagnosis by April 2012. BP argued that latent manifestations, such as cancer, develop years later so they would set aside settlement money for those claims. Furthermore, plaintiffs caught in that gap had signed away their rights to sue in order to file for immediate compensation in this settlement. Then there were the other claimants that had opted out of the settlement, and so far have not been able to present their evidence to a jury and Judge Carl Barbier has allowed these cases to be effectively stayed indefinitely. This move allowed BP to save billions in payouts at the expense of the workers’ quality and length of life.
- Under the Medical Benefits settlement process only 40 claims were paid for serious chronic health condition out of more than 37,000 which filed for compensation. 20% received the minimum compensation of $1300. The remaining 80% of cases are stalled in court waiting to have their claims heard.
- In that same settlement, the plaintiff's attorneys made more than $700 million; the Claims Administrator made $155 million, while victims as a group received about $60 million.
- Latent manifestation claimants with chronic conditions and acute illnesses are now being forced to file an individual lawsuit against BP and pay a $400 filing fee to do so.
As it turns out, BP was right about the latent manifestations. It does take years for illnesses such as cancer to develop, proven by witness accounts of the deceased and dying. Is this wait-and-see approach a federal move to help BP reduce its liability as new victims get ill or die, some never connecting the dots to their oil and dispersant exposure, and others never compensated due to delayed justice? This is how you create Disappearing Victims.
WE ALMOST WENT TO WAR WITH SYRIA
for allegedly dropping chemical weapons on their own people. But a foreign entity can come here to Louisiana and drop one on us, and somehow that’s OK.
So don’t say BP say: BRITISH PETROLEUM - a foreign owed company whose headquarters is in England with headquarters in Houston Texas, came to our coast, took unreasonable risks, killed our people, lied about the response, failed to provide information that they had on what caused the incident to happen.
Then their CEO walked the sands of this country, as if he was a colonel from the revolutionary army, from King George’s army. And he walked on the beaches of Mississippi, and as the reporters asked him questions, after 11 of our people died and many out trying to clean up this mess, he said, “I want my life back.” And that bastard got his life back.
- General Russell Honore
The State of Louisiana noticed the sham, so On May 31, 2018, Senate signed a resolution to encourage British Petroleum to institute medical monitoring and treatment, and to publish advisory medical protocols. They also noted that Louisiana residents were exposed to the Corexit dispersant, which is a chemical banned in Britain, yet these chemicals were forced upon us in never before seen quantities. This resolution was subsequently mirrored by the Jefferson Parish Council.