Raceland Treatment Facility
Raceland doctor said he believes BP spill made dozen of patients sick
by Monica Hernandez
NEW ORLEANS – Seizures, fatigue, and memory loss.
Those are just some of the health issues BP oil spill workers say they’re experiencing more than a year after the well was capped.
“I’m 32 years old, and something’s wrong with me,” said Jamie Simon. “I don’t feel good, I’m always sick.”
For seven months, Simon was the head cooking supervisor for BP clean-up workers on a barge in the Gulf.
“We would wash their clothes, mop their floors, cook their meals, and make their beds,” said Simon, noting she would touch workers used clothes with her bare hands.
Since then, the Golden Meadow native has had severe health problems — including memory loss, seizures, reproductive issues, and rashes on her hands.
“It started when I was actually on the job,” she said. “Not long after I got on the job, they had to rush me to the emergency room. I was having severe chest pains, I couldn’t breathe.”
“If Jamie weren’t such a tough cookie, she’d be dead right now,” said Dr. Michael Robichaux, an ear nose and throat doctor in Raceland.
He believes the BP oil spill- and chemicals used in the clean up- have been making people sick. He spoke out Saturday afternoon at an Uptown forum on the spill’s effects.
“It’s been a little overwhelming lately and I’ve been having to treat so many people with this,” said Robichaux.
Since the spill, Robichaux said he has seen dozens of patients with symptoms like Simon’s.
“I believe that a large part of it is toxins of some sort affecting the central nervous system,” said Robichaux.
The former state senator has been taking blood samples from patients to test for chemicals. But because there’ s no control group, he can’t be sure the BP disaster is behind their symptoms. But Robichaux believes there’s no other explanation.
“I am in the epicenter, i am in the center of where we’re seeing all this, so i have an opportunity to see things nobody has seen before, and may ever see again,” said Robichaux.
“I have my good days and bad days, some days are good, and some days I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Simon. “I cry because I feel so confused.”
Still, Simon continues searching for answers and hoping for effective treatment.
Dr. Michael Robichaux said he’s starting up a treatment facility in Raceland for possible victims of the BP spill. He believes many victims can “sweat out” the toxins.
BP has not responded to Eyewitness News’ request for comment.