Dr. Eugene Schwartz (Andrew Greto/ProPublica)Carla McCabe spent a decade building nuclear bombs at the sprawling Rocky Flats complex near Denver. When she developed a brain tumor and asked for help, federal officials told her that none of the toxic substances used at the top-secret bomb factory could have caused her cancer.
Now, on the eighth anniversary of the federal program created to help sick nuclear weapons workers, the man who until recently was the program's top doctor says that McCabe, now 55, and many others like her are being improperly rejected.
The doctor, Eugene Schwartz, recently resigned  (PDF) and in his first interview since quitting, he said many of the complaints that workers, advocates and lawmakers have leveled at the controversial program are valid. For instance, Schwartz said he repeatedly warned the U.S. Department of Labor that it is ignoring established medical knowledge about the dangers of bomb work.
"I was muzzled," said Schwartz, a Harvard-trained doctor with a master's degree in nuclear engineering, whose job was overseeing medical decisions at the federal compensation program.