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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    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 ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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JskyTx

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My husband is 10% service connected for his right ankle.

On 11/7 he went to the Dallas VA day surgery for an ankle scope to remove several bone spurs.

We arrived at the clinic at 6am and his surgery started at 11, lasted until 1:30, and he was in recovery until 4ish.

The surgeon came to me after the surgery to tell me that he was placing an order for crutches and some pain meds. Everything went great.

Recovery should have taken about an hour but he was in extreme pain and I was told they would keep a bit longer up there to get that under control.

A little after 4 I was called back to the room to see him and get him discharged and the nurse said well, the clinic that does the crutches doesn't process things after a certain time so you'll need to come back Monday for the crutches. WHAT? He can't walk. She said sorry but there was nothing else she could do. I even made sure and asked if there was ANY place in the hospital to get them and was told no only one clinic and they've all left for the day (this was around 4:30 I believe).

We leave the hospital and I stop at a local drug store to pick some crutches up because he really can't weight bear on that ankle.

We get home and he says his leg feels odd and he's very concerned because it doesn't feel right at all. He calls the urgent care number given to him and they say its fine and completely normal.

The pain is not being controled by the medication he was given because its the same exact thing they gave him to take for the year he was waiting for the surgery. Saturday rolls around and the pain is not under control and I can't find the number for urgent care (probably due to lack of sleep and stress) and I get on the website and see a nurse hot line on the front page. I called to ask if ice or heat could be used and I'm told that they don't give any kind of medical advice and to call the doctor on monday. Can I have the number for urgent care? Nope, they are closed on the weekends. I'm fed up at this point and I just say I've got to go and hang up.

I pack up the husband and off we go to the local ER because he can't go until Monday in my opinion. We get there and we're told that the meds he was given won't work because after a year of taking it he's built up a tolerance and he'll need something stronger that they can't give because they aren't authorized to write them. He does get a very strong muscle relaxer because that is all they can give for his pain level. The nurse/paramedic that I really like there comes in and looks and asks if his ankle was sprained because the ace bandage is so tight. It was compressing the ankle and making the swelling worse and also it was tight enough that it was restricting some blood flow to the ankle and foot which in turn would cause some of the pain and swelling we were trying to deal with. Took that off and made sure the stitches were fine and everything looked great. He wanted to know when the follow up was and it was two weeks from the surgery. I'm told two weeks in the norm for the VA but the nurse said that was a bit too long for an incision so small and that they would most likely be growing in by that time. Sure enough a week later the incision was healed over and everything looked fine (my husband felt it was safe to follow the nurses instructions for stitch removal and took care of it himself).

Come Monday I called the Ortho clinic and talk to a lady and she says that within the hour the surgeon will be out of the OR and she'll call me back to let me know what pain meds they can give. I get the call and he had put a prescription in the system for pick up and said to take Motrin every three hours. I asked about the NSAID he was given by them and she put me on hold and came back and said sure that is fine every three hours instead. I get off the phone and look at the NSAID bottle and it says 1 pill twice a day so off to the pharmacy I go with my bag of drugs!

I get there and the pharmacist wanted to know where I got my dosage information and then he says well, I wouldn't listen to that advice because taking the NSAID every three hours is going to do some severe damage to the kidneys rather quickly and taking the motrin every three hours will damage them as well just not as quickly. We get some dosage worked out and off I go to the VA to pick up the pain meds.

Once I get home I'm just really curious about the doctor that did the surgery and the doctor that pretty much tried to kill the kidneys and I pull up the TX medical board search. The doctor that did the surgery has been out of school for about 4 years and then the guy that gave me the dosage advice and gave the prescription doesn't even have a license. He's got a PERMIT as a doctor in training. Can a person with a permit even give out a narcotic? And furthermore why in the world is he giving out medical advice without someone standing there to make sure its correct. Had I not checked with a trained professional I could have done some serious damage giving out drugs like that. I can only imagine if it had been my husband calling drugged up with the muscle relaxer saying oh ok I'll take that like you said.

Come Monday I called to see about getting some compensation on the crutches and after days of calling get someone that says this is what we have in the system:

2pm 11/7 order is placed for crutches

2:52 its received by the clinic

4:20 patient is no show for training and fitting

WHAT? Who the heck thought he was going to walk from the day surgery to whatever clinic for the crutches? Shouldn't the nurse be aware of this and take him there?

11/10 patient states they are declining crutches

We never called in to say we weren't going to take the crutches so I'm not sure who they talked to that stated they weren't going to get them. I had no intention of driving 40 miles to go pick up some crutches with my three children and husband in pain. I had crutches and they could easily give me the money I had to pay out for something that should have been given!!

I'm met with people who say well, he should have waited and come in on Monday. How was he expected to get around with no other option but to buy them himself? Everyone I've spoken with when I asked if they expected him to walk on his ankle the entire weekend has said no way. They would never expect someone who had surgery on their ankle to walk on it for the weekend.

I have not yet had anyone say I'm sorry for the mistake. I'm sorry that this happened. Nothing.

I'm wondering if this is normal treatment at the VA? Is this what is normal at the VA hospital?

I did get an Admin officer on the phone yesterday who presented me with this:

Would you go to a civilian hospital and get treatment and then leave the hospital needing some type of medical equipment that they have not provided to you and buy it yourself? Would you buy it and then go back and tell them they needed to give you the money for it since they didn't have it available for you when you needed it?

In all honesty I would go out and buy the equiptment the hospital told me they didn't have available when I needed it and I would fully expect to be able to go back and have it processed towards my insurance for some type of reimbursement.

I did get the clinic who handles the orders and when I asked to speak to the supervisor there the guy said oh well, uh, um, he was here but, uh, he left already. Its 1:30 in the afternoon and he's already gone? Wow, I say. Yeah, he had an uh, a, ummmmmmm a emergency he had to leave for. A uh family emergency.

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Im sitting here reading this and I dont even know what to say.....but Im gonna post in support of your post. :-)

My personal surgery experience was great at the Dallas VAMC, I actually sent a thank you card to the staff after because they took great care of me. However that was in 2006, so it has been a while. My VA doc is also pretty good the times we have met, he even wrote a letter supporting my claim to the BVA. So in that I am grateful.

I know people who are vets that wont set foot in the place just because of what they have heard about it. I know one person who suffers from Hypertension and lost their job couldnt afford their meds and STILL would not go to the Dallas VAMC. Another person is a heart and diabetes patient in Korean war vet and has NEVER gone there for anything. Self employed, needs care and will not go. Said he has known people to go there and NEVER leave. That is sad that they have the reputation they do.

I hope that you can get this resolved quickly. If you know their history on other issues then you know that your experience is not rare. I have only had one bad experience there in 15 years BUT it was AWFUL and life altering. The Dr is no longer there so I have yet to figure out how to pursue.

I hope that you find someone who will listen. I pray for your husbands full recovery. I also hope that there is no permanent damage due to their negligence.

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I go to Dallas VA for medication. Two years ago the DALLAS VAMC was rated the worst VA in the system. I actually think that they have improved. For some reason the Dallas VA does not get the idea of getting on top of pain and have always been light on what is needed.

I sense that you are angry and you might consider a complaint. In general the department that issues crutches is pretty decent overall and the problem as I see it is staff did not help. They should have brought the crutches to you plain and simple. Or if he needed traing they could have has someone wheel him over in a wheel chair.

Good Luck

PS I am fortunate that I have HMO Medicare and I would not step foot in Dallas VA to be cut on

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I go to Dallas VA for medication. Two years ago the DALLAS VAMC was rated the worst VA in the system. I actually think that they have improved. For some reason the Dallas VA does not get the idea of getting on top of pain and have always been light on what is needed.

I sense that you are angry and you might consider a complaint. In general the department that issues crutches is pretty decent overall and the problem as I see it is staff did not help. They should have brought the crutches to you plain and simple. Or if he needed traing they could have has someone wheel him over in a wheel chair.

Good Luck

PS I am fortunate that I have HMO Medicare and I would not step foot in Dallas VA to be cut on

I appreciate your response. I would complain but have no idea who I would complain to! I do think the staff is the main problem here since nobody in day surgery bothered to check and make sure that he was getting the crutches (they should know more about this procedure than I do) and nobody in the clinic with the crutches bothered to call the day surgery clinic to see if my husband was being brought down (I still think they could have called to ask if he was going to be brought to them or if they should come to the day surgery clinic).

We have insurance but my husband didn't want to pay the deductible to have the surgery since ours is fairly high. He assumed that the VAMC would be a fine place and surely something like a simple day surgery they couldn't mess up! Boy was he wrong!!

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Im sitting here reading this and I dont even know what to say.....but Im gonna post in support of your post. :-)

My personal surgery experience was great at the Dallas VAMC, I actually sent a thank you card to the staff after because they took great care of me. However that was in 2006, so it has been a while. My VA doc is also pretty good the times we have met, he even wrote a letter supporting my claim to the BVA. So in that I am grateful.

I know people who are vets that wont set foot in the place just because of what they have heard about it. I know one person who suffers from Hypertension and lost their job couldnt afford their meds and STILL would not go to the Dallas VAMC. Another person is a heart and diabetes patient in Korean war vet and has NEVER gone there for anything. Self employed, needs care and will not go. Said he has known people to go there and NEVER leave. That is sad that they have the reputation they do.

I hope that you can get this resolved quickly. If you know their history on other issues then you know that your experience is not rare. I have only had one bad experience there in 15 years BUT it was AWFUL and life altering. The Dr is no longer there so I have yet to figure out how to pursue.

I hope that you find someone who will listen. I pray for your husbands full recovery. I also hope that there is no permanent damage due to their negligence.

I'm glad to hear that someone has had a positive experience there because while I was in the waiting room I heard a few horror stories and I even have a friend that shared a story about their father going in for some routine dental work and ended up in surgery because of an accident that occured during his procedure.

I do know that no matter where you go you are bound to run into a bad doctor or nurse here and there because its happened to me a few times over the years. I don't expect the VA to be perfect becasue we are all human and mistakes happen but it seems that in this case the many people I have contacted (with the exception of two people in the Fee Services Department) about the experience give me a bit of attitude because I'm bothering them with it. I just want to make sure that it doesn't happen to anyone else because while this was a minor procedure I can't imagine someone going in for something more extensive and being told to come back on Monday for their crutches.

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