Sgt. Thomas Joseph Sullivan, a veteran of the recent Iraq war, died in February of 2009 at age 30 after suffering health complications that included chronic widespread pain, swelling, severe inflammatory bowel issues, and side effects of pharmaceutical treatments. The symptoms of his illness began in Iraq and worsened upon his return, but his health problems were never fully explained.
Sgt. Sullivan’s postmortem examination uncovered evidence of widespread organ and cardiovascular degeneration that were not detected during his life using general diagnostic procedures. During the worst of his symptoms, Sgt. Sullivan was referred to treatments for psychosomatic illness. He was also prescribed high dosages of steroid and narcotic drugs with serious side effects.
After Sgt. Sullivan’s death, his family learned that a significant number of veterans return from war with emerging medical problems. Many are referred for psychological therapies and prescribed drugs with side effects, interactions, and outcomes that are difficult to track.
Having learned this, Sgt. Sullivan’s family founded the Center in his memory as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health outcomes for veterans with emerging post deployment health concerns – working with veterans, healthcare providers, and researchers to find a way to provide real help for veterans with complicated health problems.