Skip to comments.Former officer filed suit against Guard(Burkett was initially denied benefits )
Posted on 09/18/2004 9:26:43 AM PDT by Dubya
AUSTIN - The former Texas National Guard officer suspected of providing CBS News with possibly forged records on President Bush's military service sued the Guard four years ago, saying he was improperly denied medical benefits after angering his chain of command.
Bill Burkett of Baird in West Texas, claimed that he suffered physical problems and a "mental collapse" after contracting a tropical disease while serving in Panama for the military.
The suit, filed in 2000 in state district court in Travis County, was eventually dismissed. Neither Burkett nor his lawyer, David Van Os, responded to telephone calls seeking comment this week.
The lawsuit claimed that Burkett was initially denied benefits because his supervisors were angry about organizational reports he filed as an "efficiency expert."
The lawsuit said that Burkett, as a lieutenant colonel in the Guard and as an officer with the U.S. Army, became ill Jan. 17, 1998, while returning to West Texas from active duty outside the country.
Upon arriving at Abilene Regional Airport, the suit says, Burkett collapsed "as a result of a tropical disease that he had contracted during his tour of duty in Panama."
Burkett eventually received medical treatment, according to records, after he sought help from U.S. Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Abilene.
"For over four months ... [ Burkett] suffered frightfully through accelerating physical and mental collapse, aggravated by the extreme distress caused by his blockage from medical care and the horrifying fear that he would never obtain treatment," the lawsuit says.
Burkett said in the lawsuit that the disease and the delay in treating it "ravaged his body dreadfully," leaving him a "shadow of his former self."
The lawsuit also said Burkett had since "suffered a severe nervous breakdown, causing severe mental, emotional and neurological injury, from which plaintiff continues and will continue to suffer."
The three files of court documents do little to unravel the mystery behind Burkett, who has been named as a possible source for memos that CBS News used for a story suggesting that Bush failed certain military requirements while in the Guard in the early 1970s.
There is mounting suspicion that the four memos may have been forged.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Burkett called on Democratic activists to wage "war" against Republican "dirty tricks" in Internet postings in which he used phrases similar to several used in the disputed documents.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jack Douglas Jr., (817) 390-7700 firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read the official case dismissal here: http://www.3rdcoa.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/htmlopinion.asp?OpinionId=10979
Has he ever actually said what it is in public?
what i'm wondering is if we can file suit against burkett. i'm picturing a class action lawsuit. there must be some basis of this guy attempting to disenfranchise voters by creating fraudulent documents.
his butt needs to be sitting in a county jail next to a big bush supporter named "bubba". perhaps that would give him something to think about.
I really want to know what is this tropical disease. From the quotes in the article, it sounds more to me like the words "tropical disease" are really just a cover for his having gone off his rocker.
Burkett alleged that on January 17, 1998, he collapsed at the Abilene airport on his return home from an active duty assignment in Panama with the United States Army. He alleged that his collapse was caused by a tropical disease he contracted while on active duty in Panama.
He didn't fall ill while in Panama, he fell ill at the airport immediately upon his return. And the "tropical disease" wasn't mentioned by name in the court document, either. I'm starting to think that he never had a diagnosis of disease.
Since when has herpies been considered a tropical disease? :^)
Meningoencephalitis is nothing to sneeze at. Had he contracted this disease from a source in Panama, local health authorities would have gotten involved. He would have had more treatment and quarantine than he would know what to do with.
Burkett collapsed and didn't want to go to a doctor other than via the Military. How much brains does that indicate? You mean his wife or kids didn't insist on him going to ANY GOOD doctor immediately? So what really happened?
Probably syphilis, with general paresis of the brain. You can get that in the tropics.
from my link above burkett's own response:
...My doctors - who are three of the finest neurologists in the US simply say that the reason I am incredibly lucky is that once I began severe fevors, I self prescribed procaine penicillin g - from a veterinary source at one and one-half times the recommended doseage. Even with the massive doseage, it did not kill the disease organisms within my spine, but did provide nominal control
We were undere collection lawsuit from the local hospital for a previous back injury to a child and did not have insurance of any kind other than the medical care that I was supposed to receive due to my active duty status.
Whenever I was finally admitted to medical care at Brooke Army Medical hospital, the Army doctors were unable to get a clear picture other than central nervous system damage and symptomatic problems such as severe migraine headaches, an excessively large sinus mass, tremors, vertigo, tinitus and what was alter diagnosed as neuralgia. The mistake in short term treatment was that the army doctors did not do a spinal tap. After a year and a half of mistakes and no improvement, I was referred to Dr. Leroy of Dallas, one of the country's noted neurologists who presented testimony both in the court documents and to Department of Defense doctors and inspector generals investigators. From the spinal fluids he found a mid level infection of meningo encephalitis still present even after nearly two years.....
Why does this guy have money problems? Why no insurance? Is the family covered by military insurance? I didn't think so.
I was thinking about that. We close schools here and people get shots and warnings are put out...particularly to the family members. What danger did he put others in by neglecting to go to a doctor?.
someone posted that he went bankrupt in 1998 but I don't know how well the info was sourced..I think it was from fed bankruptcy court records..not unsurprising if he was so sick for 6 months...if so someone needs to look into the file and see the whole thing...anyone near there that can take a peak, it should be open to the pulic or online via PACER
"Does anyone have any idea what tropical illness Burkett might have had?"
Burkett has not mentioned the specific cause of his meningo-encephalitis.
He could have any number of underlying infections.
There are amoebic, bacterial, viral, and spirochete infections that can lead to encephalitis....
There have been outbreaks of a form of mosquito-borne equine encephalitis in Panama, but it could have resulted from any number of things.
Encephalitis can make you nuts while it is active. Recovering victims are sometimes left with marked personality changes, psychiatric symptoms, poor judgement, etc. and/or neuro-motor impairment or epilepsy and other sequelae. Depending on the type of underlying infection, it can relapse.
He alleged that delay in treatment contributed to the severity of the disease and its sequelae.