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Ray_USMC_1968

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Everything posted by Ray_USMC_1968

  1. Belatedly, I want to thank those who have replied. "Thank you" for your well-reasoned responses to my initial posting. In the unlikely event this posting remains active, I have been waiting for the DRO to make a decision based on the DBQ from November 2, 2018. Thus far, no movement. It is only MY opinion that says the examiner misdiagnosed me with MDD w/Anxious Distress. I know for the purposes of compensation, VBA doesn't differentiate between PTSD, MDD, Anxiety, or any of the other MH disorders. However, in my case. the DBQ is specific to PTSD and I feel this should have been my diagnosis. It it my theory the examiner makes a clinical opinion/decision but her opinion falls apart when she says under the "Rationale" she needs more information because "the evidence is insufficient to determine whether the diagnosis was incurred during his military service.". With that said, if any one remains willing to review my DBQ, I have redacted the personal information so I can post the relevant sections. As so many other 'learners' on this site (and other sites!!!), I sincerely appreciate any and all feedback, suggestions, advice, admonitions, et al that are offered. My sincere thanks to everyone who takes time to even read my posting. Ray LOCAL TITLE: C&P EXAMINATION STANDARD TITLE: C & P EXAMINATION NOTE DATE OF NOTE: NOV 02, 2018@10:00 ENTRY DATE: DEC 02, 2018@17:13:49 Disability Benefits Questionnaire Please use this DBQ to address 1151 requests, or other issues that are not specifically addressed by specific DBQs such as Individual Unemployability (UI). Initial Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Disability Benefits Questionnaire Date of Request: 10/5/2018 Date of Exam: 11/2/2018 Time of Exam: 9:45 AM Date(s) of Previous Exam(s): 9/20/2017, 5/21/2018 Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No ***PLEASE NOTE: This Veteran was seen by other providers in September 2017 and May 2018 for C&P Initial PTSD examinations, the findings of which are documented in detailed reports dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018. In light of his expressed and well-documented concerns that the previous examiners did not fully review, consider, and account for the evidence of record, the present examiner elected to focus the interview solely on information that the Veteran felt might not be adequately covered in his records, and the Veteran readily agreed to this approach. Consequently, only historical information that is new or additional to that summarized in the previous examination reports is presented below. Please see the reports of the previous examinations for historical information that is not reiterated in this report.*** SECTION I: ------------- 1. Diagnostic Summary ------------------------------ Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria based on today's evaluation? [ ] Yes [X] No [X] Veteran's symptoms do not meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD under DSM-5 criteria. [X] Veteran has another Mental Disorder diagnosis that conforms with DSM-5 criteria. Continue to complete this Questionnaire and/or the Eating Disorder Questionnaire. 2. Current Diagnoses ------------------------------ If the Veteran currently has one or more mental disorders that conform to DSM-5 criteria, provide all diagnoses: a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Major Depressive Disorder With Anxious Distress ICD Code: F33.9 b. Medical problems relevant to the understanding or management of the mental health disorder(s): See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018. 3. Differentiation of Symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [ ] Yes [X] No b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not applicable (N/A) c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not shown in records reviewed d. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to TBI and any non-TBI mental health diagnosis? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not applicable (N/A) 4. Occupational and Social Impairment ------------------------------ a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one) [X] Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not applicable (N/A) c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate which occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] No diagnosis of TBI COMMENTS: The level of functional impairment indicated above is that indicated during the previous C&P Initial PTSD examination dated 5/21/2018. It should be noted that this appears consistent with the level of functioning described during that examination, but inconsistent with the level of symptomatology endorsed. SECTION II: --------------------- Clinical Findings: --------------------- 1. Evidence Review ------------------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS and Virtual VA) [X] CPRS [X] Other (please identify other evidence reviewed): VistaWeb or JLV 2. History ------------------------------ Relevant Family and Social History: See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018. Relevant Occupational and Educational History: See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018. Relevant Mental Health History: Reported that he saw an outpatient VA psychiatrist in Long Beach, California for about six months in 1973-1974. "He was treating me for anxiety. I don't think we talked about depression because I was hiding suicidal thoughts." Reported that he was encouraged to file a disability claim. "When they denied it, I could no longer have outpatient treatment, so I quit going. I tried a couple of times, and because I didn't have my paper or didn't follow through. I think '07 was the first time I tried, but I didn't have my DD 214. The only time I got help was when I got in criminal trouble, was facing legal charges. I was afraid of getting locked up. In 2002, I overdosed on pain medication. Of all the regrets I have is that it didn't work. My wife interrupted me." Reported that he applied again for VA care in 2014. "I was still working at ********. I was very successful there, but I was having suicidal thoughts. I just wanted it to end. I didn't want to keep feeling the pain. So I called again. I went online and applied. But I didn't have medical records, and I didn't follow through. The next year, I was fired from Expedia, and that continued my depression slide. The VA examiners said being fired precipitated this depression. That isn't accurate. I had already applied before being discharged. It escalated my depression." Reported that he talked to a VSO in 2017, who referred him to the Springfield Vet Center, where he indicated he has been seen since July 2017. Treatment records and multiple written statements submitted in support of his claim document that the Veteran has reported receiving mental health treatment at Long Beach VAMC in 1973-1974. No documentation of the treatment was found in the records available for review. Correspondence dated 7/20/2017 from a mental health counselor who saw him for individual therapy while incarcerated in about 1994-1995 document that issues related to trauma (the details of which were not specified) and suicidal ideation and behavior were addressed. No documentation of the treatment was found in the records available for review. A written statement dated 11/15/2017 documents that he reported receiving outpatient mental health services at Burrell Mental Health in August 1988. No documentation of the treatment was found in the records available for review. Springfield Vet Center treatment records document that he reported undergoing mental health evaluation through Burrell Behavioral Health in January 2018 and with another, unidentified provider in February 2018. No documentation of the evaluations was found in the records available for review. Available Vet Center records document outpatient counseling received between July 2017 and July 2018 to address issues related to depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. The records document that he reported experiencing traumatic stressors during his military service to which he attributed his current difficulties. However, they do not document a detailed assessment of his psychosocial history prior to military service, do not document a detailed assessment of PTSD symptomatology (the PCL was administered, but the specific findings are not documented), and indicate that the focus of treatment was on his symptoms as they related to current psychosocial stressors. VA treatment records document that he was seen for an initial mental health evaluation by a psychologist at Mount Vernon CBOC in January 2018. He had contacted the clinic in December 2017, at which time he indicated that he was seeking a PTSD evaluation in support of his claim for service connection. When he was informed that such an evaluation could not be conducted through VHA as its focus is on treatment services, he indicated that he was interested in treatment for depression and suicidal ideation. During his initial visit, he endorsed symptoms consistent with Major Depressive Disorder. While he attributed the onset of his difficulties to physical abuse by instructors during Marine Corps training, he indicated that he had read about PTSD after his claim was denied in 2017, and agreed that his symptoms did not fully meet criteria for a diagnosis. The records document that he has subsequently been seen for medication management services. See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018 for additional information. Relevant Legal and Behavioral History: See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018 for additional information. Relevant Substance Use History: None. See previous C&P Initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018. Other Relevant History: Military personnel records document that the Veteran served in the Marine Corps from May 1968 to September 1969, that his MOS was voice radio operator, that he had no combat tours, and that he received an honorable discharge. They also document that he served as a military policeman in the Army National Guard from September 1973 to September 1976. Service treatment records document that he was seen for psychiatric evaluation in June 1969 due to complaints of blurred vision which were believed not to be attributable to any known organic cause (based in part on variations in findings of visual field studies that were suggestive of "functional deficit"). They note that he was disenchanted with the military and was experiencing conflict regarding whether to get out of the Marine Corps or stay in, and that he had begun experiencing symptoms. The records indicate that he described noteworthy educational, emotional, social, and family difficulties in childhood and adolescence; was assigned a diagnosis of "schizoid personality disorder [with] hysterical features," was prescribed anti-anxiety medications in the course of several follow-up appointments; complained of progressively worsening vision; was determined to be unfit for duty; and was discharged with diagnoses of "schizoid personality" and "psychoneurotic conversion reaction." Claims records document that in the time since his discharge from the Marine Corps, the Veteran has filed claims for mental health conditions including "nervous condition," "psychoneurotic conversion reaction," schizoid personality disorder, "depressive neurosis," major depressive disorder, and PTSD. The records indicate that his claims have been denied for reasons including evidence that the claimed condition existed prior to service, lack of a current clinical diagnosis of the claimed condition, lack of evidence linking his current clinical diagnosis to his military service, and the claimed condition not being subject to service connection. The report of the Veteran's initial examination for service connection dated 5/7/1974 is considered to be of limited value, as the examiner noted that the C file was not available for review, and thus based his conclusions solely on the Veteran's self-report. However, it is noteworthy that the examiner did not document any significant symptoms or functional impairments at that time, although his diagnostic impression was "anxiety neurosis." The report of the C&P Initial PTSD examination dated 9/20/2017 documents that the examiner assigned diagnoses of unspecified personality disorder and documented no PTSD symptoms other than exposure to a traumatic stressor, and attributed all of the documented symptoms to the aforementioned diagnoses. The report of the C&P Initial PTSD examination dated 5/21/2018 documents that the examiner assigned diagnoses of major depressive disorder and unspecified personality disorder, and noted symptoms meeting all criteria for PTSD except Criterion A (stating that the reported stressors were "distressing and upsetting" but did not "meet criteria as a traumatic event"). Additionally, the report documents that the examiner noted that the Veteran endorsed a "high number of extreme symptoms that were not fully consistent with presentation or history," and noted that he denied any history of significant childhood trauma or educational, emotional, behavioral, social, or family problems prior to his military service. During the present interview, the Veteran discussed at some length his concerns and frustrations about his previous C&P examinations and denials of his claims of service connection for PTSD and other mental disorders. "It seems as though they have ignored that I was treated for anxiety and depression in service. When I checked into the hospital for my medical board, on the first page of the writeup it shows moderately depressed. That's a pretty strong indicator that somebody knew I was depressed." Reported that he was prescribed Darvon, Librium, and Valium in service. "That was a pretty good indicator that I was depressed. When the Marine Corps threw me out in 1969, it reaffirmed what that gunnery sergeant told me, that I was worthless. I have maintained that the Marine Corps should have hospitalized me. They threw me out instead of treating me. They gave me a personality disorder discharge for schizoid personality." "In my first C&P exam back in 1974, the C&P examiner said he didn't even have my records. The most recent examiner said being beaten was not a personal assault. The examiner said it didn't qualify as a traumatic event. I'm not doing fine, or I wouldn't be here. The phrase I use to describe me is I feel like a whipped puppy. The episode in Marine Corps basic training defined me for the rest of my life. I feel like a dog that's been beaten down, doing everything I can to please everybody. Every job I've had, every endeavor I've got into is hoping it doesn't blow up in my face. I'm not gonna say my life has been a continual downslide since the Marine Corps. I have had good times. I have shot myself in the foot every time I've been a success. I'm not worthy of anything. Any success that would come to me would be a fluke because I'm not worthy of it. That started in the Marine Corps." 3. Stressors ------------------------------ Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military): a. Stressor #1: "-Redacted-" Please see his written statements submitted in support of his claim and the reports of previous C&P initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018 for further details. Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity? [ ] Yes [X] No Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the stressor: In written statements submitted in support of his claim, three former service members who were in the same platoon as the Veteran attested to witnessing incidents similar in nature to those he described. b. Stressor #2: "-Redacted-" Please see his written statements submitted in support of his claim and the reports of previous C&P initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018 for further details. Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity? [ ] Yes [X] No Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the stressor: In a written statement submitted in support of his claim, a former service member who was in the same as the Veteran attested to witnessing incidents similar in nature to those he described. c. Stressor #3: "-Redacted-" Please see his written statements submitted in support of his claim and the reports of previous C&P initial PTSD examinations dated 9/20/2017 and 5/21/2018 for further details. Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity? [ ] Yes [X] No Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe the markers that may substantiate the stressor: In written statements submitted in support of his claim, three former service members who were in the same platoon as the Veteran attested to experiencing incidents similar in nature to those he described. 4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, referred to as Criterion A-H, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) [X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to others Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). [X] Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring. (Such reactions may occur on a continuum, with the most extreme expression being a complete loss of awareness of present surroundings). [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). [X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself or others. [X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings). Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep). Criterion F: [X] Duration of the symptoms described above in Criteria B, C, D, and E is more than 1 month. Criterion G: [X] The symptoms described above cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition. Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD diagnosis?: [X] Stressor #1 [X] Stressor #2 [X] Stressor #3 COMMENTS: The symptoms indicated above are those endorsed during the previous C&P Initial PTSD examination dated 5/21/2018. It should be noted that insufficient information to substantiate these symptoms was found in the most recent available treatment records. 5. Symptoms --------------------------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Suicidal ideation COMMENTS: The symptoms indicated above are those endorsed during the previous C&P Initial PTSD examination dated 5/21/2018. 6. Behavioral Observations (Redacted) 7. Other Symptoms --------------------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD and other mental disorders that are not listed above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe: Low self-esteem, unstable self-image, chronic feelings of emptiness, self-dramatization, and self-focus. These symptoms were noted during the previous C&P examination dated 5/21/2018, and have previously been attributed to personality disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. 8. Competency --------------------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No If no, explain: Not applicable. 9. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any: The request for the present examination included several questions and requested medical opinions which overlap substantially in their content, and can essentially be framed as follows: 1) Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed stressor of experiencing and witnessing physical assaults during his service in the Marine Corps? 2) Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that clearly and unmistakably existed prior to his military service, and that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) aggravated beyond its natural progression by the claimed stressor of experiencing and witnessing physical assaults during his service in the Marine Corps? Written statements from fellow Veterans who were in the same platoon attest to having experienced and witnessed incidents similar in nature to those described by the Veteran, lending support to his account. Consequently, for the purpose of the present examination, the claimed stressors are considered to be corroborated. For the purpose of this examination, the claimed stressors are also considered to be sufficient to cause PTSD as specified by DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, a clinical judgment which is inherently and unavoidably subjective to some extent. The question of whether the Veteran has a current mental health condition which was caused or aggravated by the claimed stressors is difficult to address. This is due in part to significant advances in the conceptualization, assessment, and diagnosis of PTSD and other mental disorders in the years since the late 1960s, when the Veteran served in the military. Taken as a whole, in this examiner's opinion, the evidence available at this time is most supportive of a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder With Anxious Distress, and is insufficient to determine whether this condition was incurred during the Veteran's military service, or was aggravated by it. To make such a determination would require evidence regarding his pre-military history which has direct bearing on the question of the onset and etiology of his mental health difficulties, and which was not available to the present examiner. OPINION 1: It is this examiner's opinion that the Veteran DOES NOT have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed stressor of experiencing and witnessing physical assaults during his service in the Marine Corps. RATIONALE: The evidence available is insufficient to determine whether the Veteran's diagnosed mental disorder was incurred during his military service. To make such a determination would require evidence regarding his pre-military history which has direct bearing on the question of the onset and etiology of his mental health difficulties, and which was not available to the present examiner. OPINION 2: It is this examiner's opinion that the Veteran DOES NOT have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that clearly and unmistakably existed prior to his military service, and that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) aggravated beyond its natural progression by the claimed stressor of experiencing and witnessing physical assaults during his service in the Marine Corps. RATIONALE: The evidence available is insufficient to determine whether the Veteran's diagnosed mental disorder was aggravated by his military service. To make such a determination would require evidence regarding his pre-military history which has direct bearing on the question of the onset and etiology of his mental health difficulties, and which was not available to the present examiner.
  2. Thank you to doc25 for your well-reasoned response. When I filed my NOD, I indicated a reference to being in sound condition upon enlistment; because I was given a misdiagnosed discharge for "Personality Disorder", during the C&P exam, the examiner and I even discussed this topic. I pointed out to her my pre-enlistment physical documents and explained to her why I disputed the PD disagnosis. She is aware of the paperwork; she SHOULD have known the difference when she filed her DBQ. After pursuing this disability claim since July 2016, I can clearly recognize how Veterans get frustrated with "the system." After having 3 separate C&P examinations for the same disability, and not having even one examiner to agree with either of the other two, and none of the 3 to be in agreement with my VHA psychiatrist or Vet Center counselor... The frustration continues to build. For me, the frustration is in not having any one at VBA to speak directly with - in not having a warm set of eyes to point out the apparent discrepancy between the documented reality of STR, and connecting the dots between those records and a DBQ. If the current examiner has only submitted her DBQ without a medical opinion and rationale, she would have submitted the perfect supporting examination for me... When she submitted the opinion and rationale, she chose to use conflicting terminology. Using her terminology, I feel the DRO will be justified in denying my claim. I realize how many other Veterans are in my age group, and I also realize the odds are significantly against me being around another 5 - 7 years while my claim is appealed. This is what makes the frustration level nearly unbearable. Again, I thank everyone who has offered their insight to my posting. Thank you for helping me, and a huge thank you for being here as you continue to help others!!!! Ray
  3. Thank you to Vync and Vetquest for taking your time to reply to my original posting. Some additional information that may be helpful: This was the 3rd C&P for the same claimed disability. The first two were done by 3rd party examiners (LHI and QTC). I challenged each of them based on having used DSM-IV instead of DSM-V. The cut and paste shown in my posting is directly from the latest C&P, examiner is a VHA Psychologist. Her diagnosis matches the diagnosis my VHA Psychiatrist has in my VHA treatment records... Both of those also match what is in my Vet Center counselor's clinic notes... I have zero combat assignments; my stressors were non-combat related; they occurred in-service and are supported by 3 buddy statements plus in-service treatement records showing diagnosis of "Anxiety" and "Depression." I received psychiatric treatment as well as prescriptions for treatment in-service... My discharge (in 1969) was for a mental health disorder though they tagged me with a personality disorder (PD) discharge. Since PTSD wasn't recognized in 1969, my current counselors have appeared to overcome that PD misdiagnosis. Personality disorders apparently don't just 'go away.' I am probably not going to be able to contest this C&P examiner's credentials since she was at one of the VAMCs. I also want to believe she knows what she is doing. I don't understand how she would have written an excellent (in my view) DBQ for PTSD, but then fail to tie it to the conceded stressors... I don't have a preference whether she chooses "PTSD" or the (diagnosed) "Major Depressive Disorder with Anxiety Distress" as my disability. I remain confused why she would state an "Opinion", yet in the next sentence indicate she doesn't have enough evidence to connect to in-service stressors. I continue to appreciate any one who can help me to understand what I preceive to be conflicting statements in the report. I would also appreciate any advice/suggestions/recommendations regarding what steps I should anticipate taking. With genuine thanks for all who help other Veterans on this site!!! Ray
  4. I am concerned the "Diagnosis and Rationale" section are going to be the stumbling block for a DRO; in MY opinion, they are contradictory. The examiner wrote out a DBQ that I would have paid an independent examiner to write. The wording the examiner used could not have been any more favorable to my claim, at all! If I had chosen the words to use in my behalf, I would have fallen short of her submitted DBQ. However, the examiner left the diagnosis and rationale sections open to intrepretation. Does any one here on this forum have insight that will be helpful in explaining what I am seeing? Basically, am I looking at a blanket denial, or is there the possibility of a "reasonable doubt" situation? The following is a cut and paste from a C&P for mental health. I am not currently rated for any service-connected disability. I also have a current VHA psychiatrist diagnosis which matches the C&P examiner's diagnosis (Major Depressive Disorder). I read the request for the recent C&P, the rater did request two separate issues to be addressed: 1) Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed stressors?2) Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that clearly and unmistakably existed prior to his military service, and that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) aggravated beyond its natural progression by the claimed stressors?"Taken as a whole, in this examiner's opinion, the evidence available at this time is most supportive of a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder With Anxious Distress, and is insufficient to determine whether this condition was incurred during the Veteran's military service, or was aggravated by it. To make such a determination would require evidence regarding his pre-military history which has direct bearing on the question of the onset and etiology of his mental health difficulties, and which was not available to the present examiner." I claimed 3 stressors, applied for PTSD, or other MH diagnosis. The DBQ was well written, addressing each of the stressors. The examiners tied each of the stressors to DSM-V. Then, as part of her narrative, she included the following: "Consequently, for the purpose of the present examination, the claimed stressors are considered to be corroborated. For the purpose of this examination, the claimed stressors are also considered to be sufficient to cause PTSD as specified by DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, a clinical judgment which is inherently and unavoidably subjective to some extent."However, instead of a PTSD diagnosis, she chose "Major Depressive Disorder with Anxious Distress." Now, I am most concerned about her "Diagnosis and Rationale": She used the same wording to answer both of the rater's questions. "OPINION: It is this examiner's opinion that the Veteran DOES NOT have a diagnosis of PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, or other mental disorder that was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed stressors. RATIONALE: The evidence available is insufficient to determine whether the Veteran's diagnosed mental disorder was incurred during his military service. To make such a determination would require evidence regarding his pre-military history which has direct bearing on the question of the onset and etiology of his mental health difficulties, and which was not available to the present examiner."
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