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About dubsnpugs

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 08/06/1975

Profile Information

  • Location
    Tampa, FL

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Hobby
    Daughter of a deceased Vietnam Vet. My hobby has become fighting for my mothers benefits!

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  1. Thanks again Berta, I am working with John now to get the documents filed asap since we are approaching a deadline. You all have been amazing with the information and I feel like I am finally on course. I will take a look at the links above this evening, I have learned so much over the past 2 weeks, more than I ever thought possible. :)
  2. I actually have all of his records in a dropbox file as it is easier and safer to store them that way and I would be happy to share the link with you privately to take a look at what I have thus far, just too many pages and some of them have my mom's personal information on them. The 1997 denial letter was for AO and PTSD, the day after the denial letter, is when the Paralyzed Veterans Associated were solicited to help (of course just assuming that), since it is the next day. I also have a letter dated in Sept. of 1998 that they received his NOD. I have nothing after that, and then in 2003 I have another application and claimant statement that gives his service history. From a letter that my father wrote to the VA in 2003, it appears that he was in the USS Castor AKS 1 (Homebase in Sasebo Japan) in 1965-1966. According to his words they toured the waters of Da Nang. In 1967 he had orders to YR-71 Subic Bay (not sure what that means) where he under went training for for small arms and coxen training (however I have not a clue what coxen training is, perhaps someone could elaborate on that). After trianing he was sent back to Da Nang and in my fathers words this is what he wrote... "I pulled boat and barge duty, on swifts we patrolled the bay and coastal on search or destroy. On the barge we pulled duty galley and boat maintenance, at NSA I pulled morgue and help dig bunkers. We never knew from one day to the next what we were doing." In late 1967 he ended up in the hospital (as I stated above) and he couldn't remember why. He was then shipped out to the USS Marshall DD676 Tacoma, WA and while on duty broke his knee. He was discharged Jan. 1968. From this letter dated in 2003 from the VA, he states he had been on SSD since 1998. So my previous dates were off, I think that he filed for SSD around 1994. Need to work on getting those records now....
  3. Yes, Berta my father died in Oregon. The death certificate is checked no on line #46, it also appears that he was taken to the crematory, but not entirely sure from where?? The home address is listed as the location of death. So I will confirm this with my mom today when I speak to her as to where he was taken to from the house. They lived in a very small town in the middle of nowhere, so god only knows what happened. As for the medications, this is like reading Chinese to me, so I'm just taking one at a time to research. I will get working on scanning in all the documents I have thus far, and had added a few more Dr.s to my list that I found in notes to contact and get records. I'm assuming that I should contact SSA and get records from them as well? He was on SSD from about 1994 (I think....) for the severe nerve damage in his arms following 6 surgeries. The nerve damage was always there, but I think a short term job he took (1989-90ish) aggravated the problem and that was sort of the start of a can of worms opening. I also have a request that is now about 4 weeks in processing for his medical records in Vietnam (navy) and Air Force. My mother tells me that it was documented that he was hospitalized in 1967, but doesn't know why. He was also hospitalized twice in the AF, once for a fall off a jet, and the other was an accident in which his body was covered in some sort of chemical (paint thinner type chemical) that burned his skin and she remembers him having to wear eye patches for a while. I'm assuming it could take months if not longer to get those records. I know my mom has his DD-214 and some other records from Vietnam, but they are all blacked out. A question, I noticed that the Paralyzed Veterans of America were helping my dad with his claim in 1997, as I have a letter from them confirming their appointment to the case. Should I contact them for records as well? Not sure what role they played in assisting him....
  4. @John999, no autopsy, my mother is not sure if she was even asked for one and due to their financial situation I paid for his cremation and he was placed up in the National Cemetery in Portland. My mom went into shock when this all happened and she didn't know right from left. I spent a month there making all the arrangements, and figuring out where she was going to live, etc., of course by the time I got there, it was time to get his ashes, and she now wishes she could turn back time and was of better mind to make better decisions. But it is what is, and the more I read the more I feel there is so much more to this story. My Mom's only source of income was my father's disability, she quit working many years prior to take care of him, in fear that he would hurt himself (accident and suicidal). But know worries there, she took care of me for 18 years, now it is time for me to take care of her. She won't ever have to worry about anyone but herself, and after 40 years that is hard to do. @Berta, my father didn't have HBP (did have some reports of it back in 2001-2002), but he did have several emergency visits where his BP was low (Hypotension), and was treated for that. 4 days before his death his BP was 124/79. I will cut and paste the list of medications below as well as a short summary of his medical issues and dates. Although I don't agree with some of the dates. Let me know if anything stands out at you... These are the MEDICATIONS we show you should continue taking: Active Medications ============================================================ 1) Albuterol 90Mcg (Cfc-f) 200D Oral Inhl Inhale 2 puffs by mouth every 4-6 hours as needed for shortness Of breath 2) Ap#2 Ointment Apply thin film topically to affected area as directed (Legs) daily to treat skin dermatitis may apply Up to several times a day. 3) Baclofen 10Mg Tab Take one tablet by mouth three times a day as needed for Muscle spasms 4) Carboxymethylcellulose Na 0.5%(Pf)op Sol Instill 1 drop into affected eye(s) four times a day as Needed for dry eyes. 5) Epi-pen 0.3Mg/0.3ml Injector Inject 0.3Ml intramuscularly as directed as needed for Anaphylaxis due to sulfites 6) Fentanyl Tds 100Mcg Patch Apply 1 patch to skin every 72 hours (3 days) *use only The prescribed number of patches. Do not apply heat To the patch. Dispose of used patches as directed 7) Gabapentin 800Mg Tab Take one tablet by mouth every day for 7 days, then take One tablet twice a day for 7 days, then take one Tablet three times a day 8) Hydroxyzine Hcl 10Mg Tab Take two tablets by mouth every 8 hours as needed for nausea And dry heaves. May crush them to swallow. 9) Lorazepam 0.5Mg Tab Take one tablet by mouth three times a day 10) Moisturizing Cream Apply liberally topically to affected area as directed (Legs) daily to treat skin dermatitis may apply Up to several times a day. 11) Omeprazole 20Mg Ec Cap Take one capsule by mouth twice a day take 20-30 minutes Before breakfast and dinner 12) Quetiapine Fumarate 50Mg Tab Take one-half tablet by mouth three times a day and take Two tablets at bedtime 13) Spironolactone 25Mg Tab Take one tablet by mouth every day 14) Tiotropium 18Mcg Inhl Cap 30 Place one capsule in inhaler 15) Venlafaxine Hcl 75Mg Tab Take two tablets by mouth every morning and every evening 16) Vitamin D 1000 Unit Tab Take two tablets by mouth every day 17) Zolpidem Tartrate 10Mg Tab Take one tablet by mouth at bedtime Active Non-VA Medications: ============================================================ 1) Calcium Carbonate Take by mouth 2) Diphenhydramine Take by mouth You have 19 active medications List of allergies: (My father had major allergy issues that developed around 1999)…. CODEINE, EGGS, NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, LATEX, AVOCADOS, SHELLFISH BANANAS, NUTS, ASPARAGUS, SULFITES, SULFA DRUGS, METHADONE, TRAMADOL METHOCARBAMOL List of medical issues on his record from the visit that was 9/4/2012 (passed away 9/8/2012). Also not sure of why there is an”*” next to COPD???? SERVICE CONNECTED 50% to PROLONG POSTTRAUM STRESS (02/11/1999) PSYCHOGENIC PAIN NEC (03/13/1999) ORGANIC ANXIETY SYNDROME (06/15/1999) Sleep Apnea (02/08/2002) on CPAP s/p sinus resection and uveloplasty 1/02 Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (02/08/2002) reflux asthma Peripheral Nerve Disease (02/20/2002) Asthma (11/14/2002) Depression - Moderate (04/05/2004) Anxiety Disorder (05/11/2004) Unspecified disorder of adrenal glands (07/27/2004) 1.4 x 2.4 cm adrenal nodule found on CT 7/04 w/u after recovery from current illness Other Personal History of Allergy to Latex (ICD-9-CM V15.07) (02/14/2005) Other chronic Pain (ICD-9-CM 338.29) (09/11/2008) Sleep Apnea (ICD-9-CM 780.57/786.09) (09/11/2008) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease * (ICD-9-CM 496.) (04/20/2011) DYSPHAGIA NOS (09/20/2011) Loss of weight (ICD-9-CM 783.21) (09/20/2011) Opioid type dependence, continuous use (ICD-9-CM 304.01) (10/18/2011) UDS + for PCP, THC, Opiates Nov '11 pt denies PCP, but has Card for MJ, uses for muscle relaxant Degeneration of intervertebral disc (ICD-9-CM 722.6) (03/22/2012) Impotence of organic origin (ICD-9-CM 607.84) (03/22/2012) Nicotine Dependence (ICD-9-CM 305.1) (05/21/2012)
  5. Looks like I will have a busy morning of going through each of your posts, again and again (I wish I could hug you all for the information, you all are amazing). I have sent Mr. Dorle a message to further communications with him. It just so happens that my mother is in Oregon right now and I have had her on a wild goose chase these past 10 days. So far I am making good progress on getting medical records Va and private, I have a few more stops for her to make tomorrow (she will be back here in Florida the 1st week of August, so trying to get done what I need to move forward on this appeal). The VA records are a mess and so hard to follow along, I'm on page 900 of 2500+, so just highlighting issues as I read them. I will call my Mom in the morning and ask her about the coroner's office and why the NP signed off on the certificate??? I honestly thought that was odd too. I have a full list of all his medications, and I will post them in the morning (at the office on my server). The list is very overwhelming and I can't imagine someone on so many pills for so many issues. Something else that I found out today (from mom) is that the VA didn't provide him the motorized wheelchair, it was Medicare. It was also medicare that paid for the knee surgery (1999) as the VA declined it, it was medicare who paid for his back fusion surgery in 2006, as the VA kept pushing it off. However, I can't find in his VA records where they really ever addressed the issues. It's just odd. I'm sure I will have more questions once I get into the office. I have a pile of papers to scan in as well (found his denial letter from 1997 and 1998). Off to bed to process all of this.....
  6. Bertha, my deepest gratitude for your advice and comments, I spent more time last night reading everything line by line. As of yesterday, I have his VA records as well as his outside care records (all 2537 pages, on a CD of course). I have his death certificate as well and the denial letters. I spent about 4 hours last night reading through his records and I'm not even sure what to do at this point!?!? The more I read the more angry I become. I left Oregon 20 years ago and well I had no idea what my mother was dealing with when it came to his illnesses (mentally & physically). One thing I find interesting is that everywhere on his records it lists COPD as "past medical history", HOWEVER, he was literally on 2 inhalers listed for the treatment of asthma (off and on) out of 19 active medications and there are no records of him seeing pulmonary specialists, or being treated for COPD. His radiology reports for his back issues all indicate that his lungs were clear. I must have read several times over and over, that is 02 levels were at 100% (Especially during his hospitalizations). One report from back in 2009 from a stay at the hospital, then mental hospital for (suicide watch) the Dr. even noted "According to Pulm/Critical car, pt did not have any evidence of COPD exacerbation on the am of 10/04/2009". This particular episode my father had landed him in the hospital for 5 days (including a 2 day suicide watch in the mental hospital) as he went into acute respiratory failure as well as delirium. When I read this report, I wonder why it was never assumed that he had a panic/anxiety attack? It also appeared that a shot of epinephrine is what brought him out of the attack, and my father also had numerous allergies. But because he was a smoker they just assumed it was something to do with that, and the reports indicate otherwise. Also the report that was 4 days before his death, his blood work was totally normal, he complained that his headaches were an 8/10 on the pain level, and he discussed getting leg braces per the request of the physical therapist (fee paid). Anyway, I guess I could bore you all with all this stuff, I'm just so overwhelmed by all this, no wonder why my mother gave up. Even after reading the records yesterday it's even more clear to me that COPD didn't cause his death. Some other symptoms he had 24ish months prior to his death were loss of all his hair, Hypo-tension (low blood pressure), weight had dropped down to about 129lbs (2011) was at 148lbs at death however was 250lbs 3 years prior, and some other odd happenings. It obvious that the medication he was on caused major issues as well. Here is what's listed for his ratings: Service Connection/Rated Disabilities SC Percent: 90% Rated Disabilities: POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (70%) DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS OF THE SPINE (40%) ARTHRITIS, DEGENERATIVE (10%) ARTHRITIS, DEGENERATIVE (10%) I would like to proceed in contacting Mr. Dorley and Dr. Bash, but I want to make sure that I am not wasting their time. Should I start email conversations with Mr. Dorely? I am more than willing to send all the documents I have as nothing is private at this time and any help understanding this before I appeal would be helpful.
  7. Thank you both for the information. I am working on this a little more tonight and reading/listening to the links you sent. Im sure I will have some more questions for you, again THANK YOU!!!
  8. Hello, I have spent quite a bit of time on here the last couple of days reading and reading and then researching and researching. You all are a wealth of information, thank you so much for the guidance. I feel like I am at the point where I need guidance and reassurance that I’m not fighting a losing battle with the VA to determine if my Fathers untimely death was service related or not… My Father served 3 tours in Vietnam (USN) from August 1965 to January 1968 (He was in Vietnam just 10 days after his 17 birthday, thanks to his loving mother who sent him off to war (insert sarcasm)). After 1968, he was discharged to deal with 2 knee injuries that he suffered, one in war (66’) and one while in Japan waiting for orders on his next tour (67’). He re-enlisted in the USAF and served with them from February 1974 to September 1979. He was discharged due to his medical needs (knees and back) and psychiatric needs. After his discharge my father spent many years in a dark bedroom, went from job to job, struggled with drug use off and on, and sometimes we would not see him for days (or even weeks). My mother stood by his side the entire time. Trying to seek help and time after time, he was pushed off as a "druggie". Time line of events: 1990’s: In 1991 my father began to suffer severe nerve issues in his hands, legs, and back. After numerous trips to the emergency room, and several surgeries later, he was approved for SSD in early 1994. He also began seeing VA Dr.’s around that time as he was in need of knee surgery and had limited funds as Medicaid would only cover 80%. 1998: His application for disability benefits was received on September 27, 1998 for Agent Orange exposure, PTSD, Knee & back disorders. 2001: Started receiving 60% V.A. benefits and was solely under the care of the V.A.. VA denied claims of Agent Orange as part of the disability, even though he showed neurological signs of exposure. From what I can see my father never fought that ruling. September 25, 2006 received 100% V.A. disability for his service related injuries, which according to the V.A was PTSD with secondary major depression disorder, degenerative changes status post fusion at T7-8-9, thoracic spine, degenerative arthritis left knee, and degenerative joint disease right knee. 2009: He was provided a motorized wheel chair as his back was too weak and his knees could no longer support his 160lb body. My parents lived in an old farm house that was not wheelchair friendly and this caused many issues for my father trying to get to and from the bathroom with very narrow door ways. It was suggested by his physical therapist that he should have leg braces to help him get in and out of the door ways. My mother was there to help care for him, however she has M.S. and didn’t have the physical strength to get him to the restroom and back. 2009-2012: He had a spinal fusion surgery and another knee surgery and was hospitalized several times for severe falls, one breaking 2 ribs. 9/3/2012: Saw N.P at a V.A. Clinic. Complained of headaches and had a huge bump on his forehead from a fall and she ordered blood work to be done, and sent him home as there was nothing she felt she could do for him. (Currently waiting on a copy of these reports, will have it next week some time). 9/8/2012: 64 years old, passed away shortly after a fall in the bathroom, when his knees and back gave out. The EMT arrived and he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was taken to the corners office. This EMT service had been to the house over 25 times since 2008, and I’m currently waiting on those reports indicating his numerous falls and ambulance rides to the ER, as the VA never requested them, even though we signed release forms. It was suggested by one EMT that was on scene that evening that most like was a blood clot or aneurism due to the falls and the bruises on his head from pervious falls the prior weeks, I’m not sure if that was documented in the report. 9/11/2012-End of Sept.: Death certificated signed by NP on 9/11 who saw him 5 days prior complaining of headaches. She did not see or examine my father’s body. She listed his cause of death as: A. Immediate cause: unknown, uncertain and B. (due to of as a consequence of) COPD. She also didn’t suggest an autopsy and during this time my mother was literally in shock and was not mentally capable of asking for such, he was cremated on the 12th, as my mom didn’t have the money for a burial, and I paid for the cremation. I arrived to their home the evening of the 11th (It’s a long way from Florida to Oregon) and my mother didn’t know her address, important information, etc. She was literally in shock. With the help of her family members I was able to step in and take control and begin making arrangements with the National Cemetery in Portland as well as filing the necessary V.A. claims and dealing with SS. I was there for 4 weeks handling it all, and eventually I had to go back and deal with my life that was on hold. 10/19/2012-VA received application for burial benefits, DIC, and pension. 10/31/2012-Received confirmation that they are processing claim. 12/1/2012-I moved Mom to Florida as she has all of $700 SS income to live off of. Tried to get her a VSO here in Tampa, and no such luck. The gentleman she spoke to said he can’t help her as it was out of his area. So basically she communicated back and forth with the Salem Oregon office from this point forward. 3/1/2012-Per the request of the VA we sent additional documentation for his Dr.’s that he saw for the past 20 years along with a claimant response letter. 3/27/2013-Received confirmation that they got the 3/1. 5/5/2013-Called Salem office to follow up and our case worker was no long employed and they could not locate his file. V.A. at its finest. 5/30/2013-Faxed all documents and previous confirmations to new case worker. 6/19/2013-I received a call from the case worker that we should have a decision soon and wanted to know how things were going??? REALLY??? 8/15/2013-Received denial letter. 8/20/13-Sent medical records from a hospital that the V.A. could not seem to get, that I got in about 3 hours. Also sent a release form for them to get the EMT/EMS records from the night of his death. Between August and December of 2013, we made close to 15 calls and could not get a single person to call us back. 1/23/2014-Received yet another denial letter and stating that they stand by their original ruling, as COPD as cause of death. (More on that in a moment). Since that date in January (knowing that I have a year for an appeal), I have spent that time building our case, collecting medical records, reading and researching and I feel like I am about ready to submit the appeal (waiting on EMS records and missing VA records). Here are some of my questions and thoughts…. Like many vets my father was a smoker and did have stage 2 COPD. From my understanding of COPD, there are 4 stages of it. My father was NOT on oxygen nor was he on anything but a simple inhaler. He was never hospitalized for this condition and was not treated for it on a regular basis. He didn’t have cancer or heart issue (ruling out heart attack). How can they say that the cause of death was not service related, when the cause is listed as unknown? How can they say COPD was the cause of his unknown death? Is that even possible? Can you die instantly from COPD (my findings is that most die with COPD, not from it). Why did it take 8 years (1998-2006) for my father to be 100% disabled when it is very clear he suffered from his PTSD for decades that totally affected every part of his life and his symptoms were first noted in 1968? He has been using a cane to walk since the mid 1990’s and why did it take 10 years to get him a wheelchair and how come he was never given the leg braces to support his legs when he was trying to get from his chair to the toilet or shower? If COPD is really the cause of death wouldn’t that be service related since it was the service who provided him cigarettes in his daily rations in Vietnam? and wouldn’t it be service related if his nicotine addiction was contributed to his PTSD and his other secondary major depression issues (whatever that means)? I’m not convinced that my father died from complications of COPD, considering his issues were not breathing related, they were related from a fall that evening and probably many falls prior. How do I get the V.A. to see that? Also the NP that saw him a few days before his death and completed the death certificate was a total %$&^# when we questioned her findings and asked to have his records updated to reflect just unknown cases/undetermined and list from complications of a fall in the second line, as that is what all the medical reports lead too. She refused to take our calls on that and never responded to our written requests. What do I need to submit to the VA to get them to see what I see? Apparently they reviewed all his records (minus the EMT records). Is there another angle that I can approach as far as him not being 100% from the start (or even from 2001) when there was no doubt that he was not employable or really even mentally functioning? I’m open to your thoughts, suggestions and opinions. Sorry for such a long post, but at this point I could literally write a book on this case as his records are endless. Respectfully, S. Foster
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