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57tom

My Claim For Multiple Sclerosis Was Denied. What Do I Do Next?

Question

My claim was denied - what do I do next?

This are the VA reasons:

"Review of your service treatment records were negative for any complaints, treatment, or diagnosis of MS during your military service."

(At 18 I didn't even know what MS was, let alone know what any of the symptoms were. If I had any slight symptoms, I would have blown them off. So this doesn't seem very unusual to me.)

"Review of the cited treatment records show that you first sought treatment at the VA in 2002, at which time you reported and 18 year history of MS."

(I never sought treatment at the VA because I always had private health insurance. Prior to 2002 I had been taking weekly injections of Avonex for quite a few years. When I first went to VA I reported an 18 year history, I had been estimating - the doctor asked, and I said 18 years. I wasn't concerned about being totally accurate, that wasn't important at the time. But 18 years would have been 1984-ish and my 7 year cut off would have been June 84. With private insurance I was paying $225 a month out of pocket just for the injections. Once VA changed some of their income requirements, I could get the injections throught them for $7, up until then my imcome was too high.)

Review of the letter from Dr. XXXXX notes that your private medical records from 1977 to 1990 are no longer available. He reported that from 1977 to 1982 you presented several times with numbness that initially was undetermined. He further reports that eventually a diagnosis of MS was suspected in 1983 or 84 a diagnosis of MS was confirmed. Furthermore, Dr. XXX notes that in his opinion, you exhibited early symptoms of relapsing remitting MS in the early 1980's.

(This was the nexxus letter that I got. It is true that ALL medical records have been destroyed from the doctor's office, neurologist, and the hospital due to the fact that is was so long ago. Nothing exists for me to go after. Only this one doctor who had treated my back then and that I still know.)

"There is no medical evidence showing the date of the confirmed diagnosis of MS. Therefore, service connection for MS is denied since this condition neither occured in nor was caused by service nor manifested to a compensable degree within any applicable presumptive period."

(I thought you just had to prove you had symptoms within 7 years after discharge not a confirmed diagnosis. I'm confused.)

What is my next step? Thanks everyone for you ideas.

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This 2009 BVA award for MS might help you-

the BVA gave great weight to the buddy statements from friends that this veteran had obtained:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp09/files1/0902012.txt

Would the private insurance company still have some records?

Did you ever get an employee physical orlife insurance physical that would show diagnosis of MS within the 7 years?

DONT give up on this at all-if you search the BVA web site for multiple sclerosis you will find how others were hopefully able to prove their MS was at a 10% level within the 7 years after service.

The VBM (from NVLSP) makes the point that most MS claims need an independent medical opinion that associates the early symptoms within in the 7 year period or even during service yet not diagnosed in the military but symptoms of MS that were noted in the SMRs.

Do you have your SMRS?

Hve you carefully read through them for anything symptomatic in service?

It will be difficult without the original records but nothing is impossible with the VA.

Dr Craig Bash's name will pop up in some of the BVA decisions. He is expensive but many have had success with his thorough medical opinions.He helped me win my recent claim.

Dr. Bash also has MS so he certainly can provide the VA his extensive expertise on MS IMOs.

He can be contacted via his web site-just google Dr. Craig C Bash or Medical Advisor.

His opinion would have the same problem that VA found with the opinion you had but he might be able to suggest other ways in which to help prove your claim.

The very fact that MS is often so difficult to diagnose would lead me to believe that buddy statements from relatives, employers ,friends and anyone who you served with could certainly raise the claim to the Benefit of Doubt level-meaning you would succeed.

Were you prescribed meds for MS back in 184? Would a pharmacy-if not the prescribing doc- have records that old?

I just feel there must have been someone somewhere that might have gotten those old records- before they were destroyed.

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