It was an injection into his arm before his Marine Corps unit left the United States.
It left Lopez in a coma, paralyzed and unable for a time to breathe on his own. He can walk now, but with a limp. He has to wear a urine bag, has short-term memory loss and must swallow 15 pills daily to control leg spasms and other ailments.
Yet the Springfield, Mo., man does not qualify for a special GI benefit of up to $100,000 for troops who suffer traumatic injuries.