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14 Questions about Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits Claims 

When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about when it comes to filing VA Disability Claims.









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Old 5311

Asbestos Related Lung Disease, Denied!

Question

My diagnosis was for asbestos related lung desease; emphysema. Maybe I went wrong using the word "asbestosis". Who knows? The damage is located in the upper lobes vs lower. This is what the RO emphasized.

Quote from my Rep:

For VA purposes any post drug predicted FEV1 reading above 80% are considered normal, your's was 108%, this is one of the reasons the VA Dr says your breathing problrems are un related to asbestos, he also says you have dammage to the upper lobes of the lungs and asbestos always effects the lower lobes first, so if you have asbestos exposure related lung disease and show effects to the upper lobe, you should also see it in the lower lobes, again according to the scans you submitted, you only have involvement in the upper lobes - and none in the lower lobes.

My VAMC test results:

FEC: PREDICTED-4.95. PRE DRUG REPORTED% 3.90. PRE DRUG PREDICTED 79 <. POST DRUG PREDICTED 95. %CHANGE 20.

FE1: PREDICTED 3.42 PRE DRUG REPORTED% 3.24 PRE DRUG PREDICTED 95 POST DRUG REPORTED % 3.71. POST DRUG PREDICTED 108. %CHANGE 14.

I was also exposed to Sodasorb and Barylyme while diving..

Any thoughts out there regarding this?

Thanks and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Edited by Old 5311

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24 answers to this question

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Guest Berta

M21-1, Part VI February 5, 2004

Change 110

in some respects. Chrysotile products have their initial effects on the small airways of the lung, cause asbestosis more slowly, but result in lung cancer more often. The African fibers have more initial effects on the small blood vessels of the lung, the alveolar walls and the pleura, and result in more mesothelioma. True chrysotile fibers are hollow and extremely thin. All the other varieties of asbestos fibers are solid.

(3) Persons with asbestos exposure have an increased incidence of bronchial, lung, pharyngolaryngeal, gastrointestinal and urogenital cancer. The risk of developing bronchial cancer is increased in current cigarette smokers who have had asbestos exposure. Mesotheliomas are not associated with cigarette smoking. Lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure originates in the lung parenchyma rather than the bronchi. About 50 percent of persons with asbestosis eventually develop lung cancer, about 17 percent develop mesothelioma, and about 10 percent develop gastrointestinal and urogenital cancers.

All persons with significant asbestosis develop cor pulmonale and those who do not die from cancer often die from heart failure secondary to cor pulmonale.

b. Occupational Exposure etc

This is the significant part of asbestos claims within M21-1 -

do you have your complete medical records from VA? as well as the actual results of any asbestos C & P exams?

I am concerned that VA is talking about "lobes" yet they might not be fully considering that you could have affects in

"Lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure originates in the lung parenchyma rather than the bronchi."

They seem to be looking at lung cancer regs rather than any other lung disease-

This vet was denied but it shows what the VA is looking for in order to service connect asbestos-

http://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files3/0515258.txt

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Guest Berta

PS- if I were you I would absolutley file a claim on the affects of the

sodasorb and barylyme as one other reason you have lung disease.

This is one report I just found but there might be more on the web as to the negative affects of these chemicals:

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:KRXbLQh...&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

When you handled this were you issued protective gear?

Or was it part of the diving breathing apparatus?

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Thanks for your reply and link to MSDS and the 2nd link. I used sodasorb and barylyme as a CO2 absorbant extensively while deep, mixed gas diving. While handling these chemicals no PPE was advised or required to be used. As a Machinist Mate I had extensive exposure to asbestos in the 60's and 70's so all the private physicians determined AB must be the cause of the emphysema.

The damage is detected in the upper lobes just as if I were a heavy smoker. In fact I am a life long non-smoker. The upper lobes seem to be the deciding factor in the denial. In addition I have above average lung capacity 6 1/2 L, perhaps this is a factor why I did so well on the pulmonary function test. I have a referral with a pulmonary specialist so soon I may have enough information for a well founded NOD.

Thanks again.

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Old5311

Persistence is the key. The VA just hopes you will give up and walk away. Those who have persisted here on Hadit have most often won their claims. We have some great examples here in Berta and others.

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Guest Morgan

Berta and Old5311,

What do you make of this part of the appeal?

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal

Circuit (Federal Circuit) has recognized the Board's

"authority to discount the weight and probity of evidence in

light of its own inherent characteristics and its

relationship to other items of evidence..."

First, does "in light of its own inherent characteristics" give the VA a broad license to deny if a VA exam contradicts private medical evidence?

Second, Old5311, who diagnosed "asbestos related lung disease; emphysema"?

I read "asbestos related lung disease; emphysema" as two lung conditions--obstructive and restrictive (the semicolon reasonably taking the place of the coordinating conjunction "and"). So you do have a diagnosis of asbestosis (which simply means lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos particles), and the RO is without cause to discount the weight and probity of that evidence.

I think an appeal point would be just that--the VA failed to give weight and probity to your competent medical evidence... in light of its relationship to other items of evidence, such as "asbestos-related lung disease" clearly being diagnosed, and because being a lifelong nonsmoker and having no known occupational exposure to harmful elements (I'm assuming here) allows no other plausible etiology for lung disease.

What gets me on this denial is basing it on no lower lobe involvement when the diagnosis of "asbestos-related lung disease" by VA's own admission means the lower lobes are involved. Maybe the scans you provided were not specific to asbestos exposure. Besides that, some are technically difficult and don't show everything. I think a good IMO could box this denial in and win this claim. (And a more positive and helpful SO wouldn't hurt either.)

Carrie

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Guest jstacy

MMC that decision does not weigh evenly. Asbestos can effect any part of the lung. There are diseases of lower Lung. It may be helpful to actually go to the VA and get a copy of the Xray and the report they used for your exam.

There is pulmonary Fribrosis, Rounded atelectasis( Top part of the Lung) Interstiatal Lung Disease.

Did you have a high resolution cat scan or HRCT,A chest Xray is not worth anything when it is associated with asbestos. The only true diagnosis are from a HRCT. Any VA Radiologist will tell you the exact same. If you did not have a HRCT, I am advising you to use your insurance and get your primary Doc to get you one. Try this site: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/content/chestct.htm.

Now for your asbestos exposure: You were a Machinest Mate Chef Petty officer and you served during wartime. You served on the Shangri La. You also served on 2 submarines. These boats had steam piping and they underwent a rigorous Quality control as a Result of the Thresher SSN 593. Went Down. This included Steam and Water Pipe inspectiuon that resulted in the removing All of the insulation for inspection and Replacement. The Welds were then Xrayed to ensure there were no deefects.A Submarine has no Rating for Repair personnel and the Crew have to go through a Training process to learn every station on the Boat in order to receive their Dolfins. That is where the SS relates to Sub Sailors. A machinestmate is the engineering rating that would be constantly exposed to asbestos Due to the Insulation aroung Reduction Gear,Steam Piping, Floor Tiles, ECT. Asbestos also may have been used in acoustical dampening insulation on Submarines.

What these Guys get away with and they are protected by law.

I have a C and P on Monday 12-19-05 for 5 things 1Pulmonary Asbestos related.

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