- MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -
A doctor who went public with his belief the Navy may have misdiagnosed
hundreds of sailors exposed to potentially lethal mineral dust says he
was fired late Monday for insubordination.
- Dr. Philip Jajosky, an outspoken medical investigator
and 23-year veteran of the U.S. Public Health Service, was ordered to pack
up his belongings, then escorted out of his office at the National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health here.
- The termination was characterized as an ``involuntary
retirement,'' Jajosky said.
- His firing comes more than two months after closed hearings
in Rockville, Md., where a panel discussed allegations Jajosky had defied
the chain of command and performed poorly at work.
- Jajosky raised a red flag in 1992 after researching the
case of an ex-sailor from Albany, Ga., and a decision by the U.S. Department
of Veterans Affairs to change his diagnosis.
- The patient, Jerry Cochran, helped scrape adhesive off
the decks of aircraft carriers during the 1970s, stirring up and inhaling
- The old diagnosis was sarcoidosis, a rare lung disorder
with no known cause. The new diagnosis identified silicosis, a chronic
respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica, a hard, glassy mineral.
- The change and Jajosky's report to the Navy led to a
recommendation by the VA that its 172 medical centers perform detailed
medical histories on affected sailors. There are no known estimates of
how many could be at risk.
- Jajosky's opinions on the sarcoidosis cases, if validated,
could have enormous financial ramifications for the Navy. Compensation
and disability payments to those who have suffered or died of lung disease
could become possibilities.
- Jajosky contends his research cost him his job.
- ``I didn't just pop on the scene and say, 'I'm going
to raise hell.' Everything was fine in my career until I got involved in
this investigation,'' Jajosky said Monday night.
- Jajosky's supervisor, Bill Eschenbacher, did not immediately
return a telephone message left at NIOSH offices Monday night.