Marine ill from Camp Lejeune water in need of transplant - WSMV Channel 4

Marine ill from Camp Lejeune water in critical need of transplant

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Rusty Murphy Rusty Murphy
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Marine veteran who spent four years stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is now paying a very high price after his service to our country.

Rusty Murphy is in desperate need of a liver transplant, and like many other vets, he said his medical problems can be traced back to tainted water at Camp Lejeune.

It took years for the United States government to acknowledge that the bad water made some Marines very sick, but while the government is offering healthcare, it is not offering any of those men and women disability.

And if you are facing possible death, disability is one big way to take care of your family.

Murphy is an optimist. Born in Nashville and one of seven brothers, he is a 52-year-old father of three.

When he says every day is a treasure, he's not just talking.

"I would love to see them grow up," Murphy said.

Murphy has stage four cirrhosis of the liver, and doctors give him from three months to five years to live. If by that point he doesn't receive a liver transplant, he will die.

"Really hard with my little children," Murphy said.

Murphy was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1979 to 1982, when he was exposed to toxic benzene, and now is part of the big group of former Marines who call themselves "The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten."

"At that point I don't know what to do. I've written the people at Camp Lejeune, the registry there. I've filed a claim for disability with them to help as life insurance for my children and my family," Murphy said.

Murphy manages a Tullahoma fast food restaurant, where he works every shift he can, knowing that the clock is ticking as he waits for the government to act.

"I'd like for them most of all to accept responsibility," Murphy said. "We were there for our country. It's time for our country to be there for us."

The government is studying the long-term effects of the water contamination, but for those like Murphy, they can't wait for the completion of a 10-year study.

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