By Capt.(ret.) Philip Brooks CD, LLM
My name is Captain (ret’d) Philip Scott Brooks, CD, LLM I am a retired corporate and securities attorney, banking executive and a former RCAF Search and Rescue Air Navigator. Today I am an active advocate for Canada’s Veterans and I am the founder and Director of Operation Seen and education and awareness organization about unseen brain and nervous system injury.
During my shortened military career flying C-130 Hercules and CC-115 Buffalo aircraft, I was injured on duty here in Canada preparing for deployment to do combat rescue duties overseas during the First Gulf War. I lasted for five more years of flying injuries, illnesses and accidents afterward and then in 1996 preparing to be attached as the Air Officer for an early special ops mission to the Congo I was given the anti-malarial drug Mefloquine. I immediately showed serious prodromal symptoms of serious neurological damage and got quite sick right away. I hadn’t been warned about the known dangers of Quinoline drugs and this one in particular.
I thought I was sick from all the vaccines for deepest darkest Africa. I never recovered, and today I have lost everything and I struggle like a 90 year old most days. I’m 57. So today my friends, I would like to say a few words to my fellow sufferers and to all my fellow Canadians about adverse drug reactions. It is a hidden epidemic in Canada and especially in the Canadian Veteran community and we need better awareness of the risks of prescription drug dangers and poly pharmacy generally. A century ago our species had just begun to master invading a living human body with surgery to remove rumours and to fix internal problems that were killing people. Only afterwards did doctors discover about hygiene and anesthetic sans antibiotics. We were killing more people from medical procedures than we wanted, certainly.
A hundred years or more years later and here we are learning as a society about these powerful brain, body and mind altering drugs. I would be so pleased and honoured to attend and speak in person today but I’m sorry my friends I have been having a couple very challenging health days and I am quite ill and in town just for urgent medical treatments. This is life for many Canadians disabled by adverse drug reactions. Poisoning is the other term for it. Realistically I’m not able to stand or exert myself for very long right now and I so want to go and make a contribution to today’s dialogue.
This fact situation is why I started Operation Seen four years ago (or “Op Seen” which sounds like “obscene” for a reason). Op Seen is about unseen brain and central nervous system injury. Chemical injury is one such exposure that can lead to permanent brain and central nervous system injury and that is what happens when you put chemicals into a human system for which such chemical are not suitable or helpful or perhaps even tolerable. This is a big issue. Huge – I’m preaching to the choir today I know – but it affects so many who don’t even know it.
My own story an example. I was unaware for years that my constellation of health problems could all be traced to injuries and adverse drug reactions. For me and for many it is not just the problem from the original injury (the mefloquine poisoning on top of concussions and other injuries in my case), but the serious impairment and outright damage done by “treatments” which follow and may include anti-depressant, anti-anxiolytics and anti-psychotics that too often get dosed out almost casually and with no medical pre-testing or genetic screening and no meaningful effective close oversight or follow up.
How serious is this?
Across Canada people are dying every day and the papers don’t read “adverse drug reaction”. They read suicide, misadventure and accident, medical complications. The funeral directors and coroners of Canada know the truth about mis-medication and especially the dangers of psychiatric drugs. I am not anti-pharmacy. That is not what Op Seen is about. That is about awareness of injury being diagnosed and treated as mental illness when it is brain damage from a determinable cause. There are many critical life saving drugs we all must be grateful for but we can do better as a nation at triaging and diagnosing brain and central nervous system injury affecting society so greatly and on so many levels. We can do better at managing the national pharmacy shelf and at holding medical professionals accountable.
More education and training may be a start. Poly-pharmacy is a massive hidden Veteran issue affecting thousands of our brave military families right across the country. We believe that this is a major contributor to the Veteran suicide crisis and the mental health and suicide problems in society generally. Educate and inform our pubic. Spend more pubic funds on educating our front line medical professionals and don’t leave it to the pharmacy companies to do all the “educating”. Many thanks for your attention and support. I close wishing all my fellow Canadians to stay vigilant, safe and healthy while we all get through this world health crisis together. Canada strong! This is my message today I am Philip Brooks.
#OpSeen #fallenathome #OpBeacon #Quinism