10/30/2013 6:41 PM
OAK HILL - For a new generation of coal miners, black lung disease seems to be resurging. Health officials say that in the last few years, miners are displaying stronger symptoms at a much younger age than in recent past. Nurses at the Black Lung Clinic in Scarbro say they have seen miners in their fifties who are having to retire because the disease was already that debilitating. ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross spoke with Newswatch about his year-long investigation into this fight.
"We found one miner after another who has been denied benefits each month because doctors at Johns Hopkins University have ruled they don't have black lung even though they're own doctors say they do, and we looked at the record here put together the files and the figures for the last 13 years, and of 1,573 cases we looked at, there wasn't a single time this doctor at Johns Hopkins ever found black lung as if it didn't exist, and further, of 100 cases where miners had died, autopsies showed that in fact they did have black lung even though doctors at Hopkins said they did not. So this is a startling situation. Senator Jay Rockefeller from your state calls it a national disgrace."