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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