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    • Reviewing 2016/15 BVA Decisions for MST/PTSD, just might give you a greater sense of well being and help support your positive outlook. You can link to BVA Decisions, right from the VA.Gov home page. I just checked 4 somewhat similar BVA 2016 MST/PTSD Awards and 1 Denial, your claim appears to be much stronger than any of the 4 Awards. Semper Fi  
    • PS I forgot to mention.....I think the PUCS are all on line....I found on line the one that covered my husband in Vietnam...he had heard when they got back to the world that his unit in Vietnam got the PUC but the Marine Corps made them fill out their DD 214 forms themselves and none of them really knew what awards or decorations to put down.He always wondered about the PUC and there it was on his DD 215 and they sent the ribbon to him and any medals not made in Vietnam, and told him he could purchase the Vietnamese medals at a PX.  
    • Geez John....I am sure you questioned already the St Louis fire potential. I still have SMRS here from a vet who VA told were destroyed in the St Louis Fire. I told him to go to NARA site and he got them.His rep asked me to help him and showed me 2 pages of SMRS and the letter from VA that said the rest were destroyed in the fire. I immediately realized the VA was full iof crap on that---no watermarks or charred edges on the copies....I was with the local fire department for 8 years. Firemen , especially in a horrendous fire like St Louis was, did not have any time at all to select a few papers here and there from any vet's files. They told one vet here the same BS but he had enlisted AFTER the St louis fire. Has your father filled out a DD 149? The form is here somewhere. A DD 149 brought the Presidential Unit Citation to my husband and other awards he did not have on his DD 214, along with a DD 215. Most of the records lost in the fire were for USAF vets, not Army. When VA uses the fire excuse for any vet, I think the vet should request the records themselves from NARA. It could be possible they were destroyed but it also is possible the VA lied.  
    • I assume that you were employed when they made the 70% rating? Otherwise they would have considered you for TDIU and probably enclosed the 21-8940 form with the older decision. If the cancer is claimed and also is  a SC disability, the rating might put you at 100% or warrant TDIU,if you are unemployed. Not enough info here to really guess..... You seem to be asking if the cancer alone would give you 100%....... Please check out our VA Schedule of Ratings link here.on the forum page....go down about halfway to where you will find how they rate cancer....and the ratings depend on the type of cancer and the residuals of it. And of course if it can be service connected.    
    • Indeed he is. But a NOD is more than just a ballpark statement that one is disagreeing with the decision. On Christmas Eve (of course) 1988 my husband got a proposed reduction letter. The tree went flying out the front door.They proposed to reduce his then 30% PTSD to 10% since he had obtained 'substantial employment' with the VA  and also was in Voc Rehab. I wrote the NOD stating he only got the VA job because the director didnt want him to file an EEOC case on another hiring matter for a full time fireman's position, when their personnel director violated the law. OPM had found him qualified but he never even got an interview because the fire department at this VA hired relatives....for years without interviewing qualified veterans.He got a part time VA job in their dietetics department within hours after we talked to the director about this ( until another VA fireman position opened -per the director-and none ever did) yet he was a former PHVAC, and Nuke as well. Substantial employment? My butt.The personnel director was removed due to that fiasco.I gave them the VAMC's director's contact info and testified I was a witness to this entire situation, in the NOD. Also I pointed out that ONE sole semester of VOC Rehab does not make anyone a rocket scientist and he already had requested accommodations to his PTSD, and needed a note taker and also tutoring from the college. About 7-8 months later AmVets on his POA called here but he had not gotten home yet and AMVETS said that's OK, just tell him the VA will send him a formal letter that they have restored his comp back to 30%. This was 1988 and no PC internet then. I used the regulations they quoted in the proposed reduction letter against them and also used plain old common sense. Same thing with my daughter's NOD.I raised CUE in it too.VA Educational department error. That was resolved in 3 weeks,after I mailed her the NOD, she copied and signed it and sent it in. I used the regulations from their own Chapter 35 application.I guess no one at VA Edu knew how to read the regs. A NOD is the most important avenue of attack to a faulty VA decision. Telling them why they are wrong, with evidence they have and how the regulations were misinterpreted can do wonders....but many times they will still fight back. If it is a question of a medical nature( lousy C & P exams  are the most likely cause of denials) than an IMO/IME is definitely in order. If they said your SMRs were 'silent' for any nexus, with the NOD ,send them a copy of anything in the SMRs that prove the nexus. And of course if they made a legal error to your detriment in a recent decision within the appeal period formally ask them to go CUE themselves. ....explained here many many times already....but file the NOD on time if they do not react to this type of CUE request.          


Cause Of Veterans Death

9 posts in this topic


I have been reading the forums for a while and thought I would post a question concerning DIC.

My husband a Combat Wounded VietNam Vet, passed away in January 2004. When he passed away he was rated 90% Disabled and had a claim in for TDIU (which he had filed in March 2003).

In March 2004 I received the decision which denied his TDIU. I as the widow filed a new claim for the TDIU and Cause of Veterans Death in March 2004. Needless to say it was denied and I appealed it. I had a hearing before a BVA Judge in Washington DC in March 2008. In August 2008 I was awarded the TDIU claim with back pay to March 2003. and the Cause of Veterans death was remanded to search for the hospital records and a IMO. My husband had filed a claim in 1997 for Hepatits C. It was denied BUT....they had tried 3 times to obtain his inservice hospital records from where he had been shot & was hospitalized for 6 weeks in Nam but could not locate them. My representative at the hearing claimed CUE and gave them several other places to search for the records. I also included buddy statements from the medic who served with him. Now my claim is at the Post Determination Team waiting on a decision in Huntington WV. I have contacted my representative and he says maybe 4 to 6 weeks more of waiting. I do know that they could not locate the Hospital records, they have tried 6 times from my original RO and Huntington. I have submitted all types of medical records from his Doctor and the Transplant Team where he had his liver transplant. He was SC for DMII, Neropathy, Gunshot wound & PTSD.I was just wondering what it means that my claim is in Post Determination waiting on a decision.. Thanks for any help

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I too am an Agent Orange widow.14 years after my husband died the VA recently directly service connected his death.

I sure don't think you will wait that long-actually I didnt either ---long story-

what was the actual cause of death and all contributing factors that were listed on death certificate and autopsy (if one was performed)?

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Hi Berta,

Nice to meet you! Thank you for replying

Death Certificate listed, Multisystem Organ Failure, Sepsis, Hep C liver failure, post liver transplant. and no autopsy was done.

He was on a breathing machine for all of his final days and his red blood cell count was the lowest they had seen at the hospital. the doctors asked me if they could do a bone marrow biopsy. I hesitantly agreed as I know how painful they are but we had to find out what was going on. The Day he passed the bone marrow biopsy reports came back positive for Leukemia. Long story short. the Dr. who signed the death certificate was a new Dr. on the Transplant team and had not seen Mike prior to him being admitted to ICU. (which I told the BVA Judge) He had so many doctors!!

I did get Letters from the Head Dr. of the Transplant team as well as two other doctors, all of whom treated him before and after the Transplant and lots of medical evidence. Anyway today I went back and looked at the denial for the Hep C. and they stated they had medical evidence from 1969 to 1971. But that was not true, as they could not find the hospital records from Nam and still can't so, I guess that is where the CUE comes in. (not sure) only met my representative the day I went to DC for my BVA hearing. Long story short. I called the 800# today and guy told me that it had been rated and was at Post Determination. Do you know if they would send me a SSOC. before it went to post determination, or is that where they generate a SSOC from. Also, first he said they had to send it to authorization, then he corrected himself and said if it is an award they would have to get it signed off. (maybe he is seeing something that he cannot tell me about, not sure trying to read into this!!!) and I would receive a Notification Letter after a decision is made. He tried to see if a Notification Letter had been sent but system was down. My thinking!! Ha Ha.. is that if it has been rated then they have made a decision. BVA instructions indicate that if a decision to grant cannot be made then to send the claim back to BVA. (Sorry hard to put into words hope what I'am asking makes sense) Mike fought so hard and so long with this illness and the VA I hope I win. this fight is for HIM!! anyway any thoughts on this!!! Thanks

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It is always hard to interpret what the VA is doing-

I assume the decision has been posted by now at the BVA web site-do you have Docket number and citation number?

BVA decisions are public record (no names etc) so maybe we could see more in the decision if they send a SSOC-

I certainly would think his SC for DMII would have contributed to the Hep C-because DMII can alter the immune system but I am not a doc-

has this point (the DMII) been raised in the claim as one more way to gain direct SC death?

Also- does this involve Hep C directly due to the treatment for the GSW?

I assume he had transfusions that are most likely etiology of the Hepatitus?

When BVA remanded for an IMO- were you able to obtain one as well?

If the VA tries to deny again without the missing records, then an IMO doctor you hire- could have valid opinion

based on the remaining records that VA doesn't have.

Still - it might be that the VA is preparing a favorable decision-and not a SSOC ---- hard to say

"I have submitted all types of medical records from his Doctor and the Transplant Team where he had his liver transplant."

Did any of thse doctors opine at all as to the etiology of his hepatitus or opine in any way that his SC DMII impacted on this and contributed to the Hep C disability and/or his death?

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"The Day he passed the bone marrow biopsy reports came back positive for Leukemia"

Was this Chronic Leucocyte leukemia?

CLL is an AO presumptive cancer -then again it isnt on the death certificate-as contributing to death-

but this is:

"Multisystem Organ Failure"

That would obviously include his cardiac system.

What disabilities was the TDIU award based on and did the VA ever document that he had heart disease of atherosclerotic nature that could be directly due to the DMII?

I hope that you are going to get an award letter- but I am also anticipating worse case scenario.

Men and women here-I cannot stress here enough that autopsys should be done on any deceased veteran.Without an autopsy done by the Donor bank-in my case- I would never have proven wrongful death in 1997 and then recently received direct SC death award due to Agent Orange.

I didnt really see the significance of the autopsy when the Organ Donor place called.But the 6 page autopsy ended up as my prime evidence for my claims.

I dont know if the VA does autopsys and it is often something a survivor might have to bring up themselves.

There are often circumstances that put the idea of an autopsy -at time of death-on the back burner -because death brings so many other concerns and such grief that it is not really on ones mind- as a survivor.So much happens at once that if a doctor doesnt suggest an autopsy right away-it never gets done unless the surviving spouse asks one to be performed (or the vet is an organ donor)

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Vets should get a heath care POA and name a health care surrocate. Everyone should have a POA and a Will. Health Care POA is very important because that person can determine health care decisions in disputed situtations. It can happen where somebody besides the spouse or child decides they want to horn in on health care decisions including getting an autopsy. The State can even get involved in your health care decisions if you don't have a Surrogate and paperwork to make your last wishes known. For example, there is a spouse and step children. There may be a legal dispute about treatment, DNR's, and every conceivable thing to do with a person's last hours. If it is not stated in writing you may end up in court. Some hospitals will attempt to ignore even written instructions about DNR's and life and death decisions.

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