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Nod Or Refile Claim?


bravoteam22
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Hi, this is my very first post on hadit.com. I have been reading through different forums for weeks, and I am very impressed by the amount of support and comaraderie shared amongst the users. In June, I filed a claim for disability for osteochondritis dissecans stage 3. I was in the Army as a firefighter for six years. I got out June 2003, and was unaware of any current issues with my ankle. In August 2003, I had severe ankle pain, would fall mid-step daily, and could barely walk. I went to a private doctor, and I was diagnosed with OD stage 3. OD is a degenerative joint condition where blood supply is not getting to the ankle bone, the bone chips off, and causes severe pain. The doctor said that it takes a long time for OD to reach stage 3. I had surgery in October 2003, and since then the condition has worsened. The VA wants to do surgery again. I never filed a claim for this. I decided to do so this past June. I listed the disability condition as OD stage 3 on my claim form. I just got my rating letter back, and it stated: "Service connection for osteochondritis dissecans stage 3 must be denied because there is no evidence of a current od stage 3, and indication in your service medical records that you ever had od stage 3 while you were on active duty." When I submitted my claim, I included all of my medical records from the private doctor, the current VA records indicating degenerative joint disease due to od stage 3, and private dr's notes from the past 8 years when I have fallen or had severe ankle pain. My question is: Did I word my initial claim wrong in listing my disability as OD stage 3, since it was corrected during surgery in 2003? Should I have worded it as residules of OD stage 3, or degenerative joint disease? All of the private and VA drs that I have seen have said that it takes at least a year for this condition to reach stage 3, and it was discovered 2 months after I came off of active duty--which would put me in stage 1 and 2 while in-service. Should I file a NOD and request to have a podiatrist or orthopeodic surgeon review my file (can I do that?), or should I just re-file a whole new claim and give up my initial claim date? Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated. I am in much pain, and the VA doctors want to do surgery again this spring.

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Hi, this is my very first post on hadit.com. I have been reading through different forums for weeks, and I am very impressed by the amount of support and comaraderie shared amongst the users. In June, I filed a claim for disability for osteochondritis dissecans stage 3. I was in the Army as a firefighter for six years. I got out June 2003, and was unaware of any current issues with my ankle. In August 2003, I had severe ankle pain, would fall mid-step daily, and could barely walk. I went to a private doctor, and I was diagnosed with OD stage 3. OD is a degenerative joint condition where blood supply is not getting to the ankle bone, the bone chips off, and causes severe pain. The doctor said that it takes a long time for OD to reach stage 3. I had surgery in October 2003, and since then the condition has worsened. The VA wants to do surgery again. I never filed a claim for this. I decided to do so this past June. I listed the disability condition as OD stage 3 on my claim form. I just got my rating letter back, and it stated: "Service connection for osteochondritis dissecans stage 3 must be denied because there is no evidence of a current od stage 3, and indication in your service medical records that you ever had od stage 3 while you were on active duty." When I submitted my claim, I included all of my medical records from the private doctor, the current VA records indicating degenerative joint disease due to od stage 3, and private dr's notes from the past 8 years when I have fallen or had severe ankle pain. My question is: Did I word my initial claim wrong in listing my disability as OD stage 3, since it was corrected during surgery in 2003? Should I have worded it as residules of OD stage 3, or degenerative joint disease? All of the private and VA drs that I have seen have said that it takes at least a year for this condition to reach stage 3, and it was discovered 2 months after I came off of active duty--which would put me in stage 1 and 2 while in-service. Should I file a NOD and request to have a podiatrist or orthopeodic surgeon review my file (can I do that?), or should I just re-file a whole new claim and give up my initial claim date? Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated. I am in much pain, and the VA doctors want to do surgery again this spring.

You definately want to file a NOD. I suggest that you request a DRO hearing to be able to present your case in person. Your denial is not surprising it happens frequently, your best bet is to have an ortho surgeon write you a letter that explains the disease and the facts of your case that it had to start in-service. I always advise the vets I help to go the DRO hearing route I've not lost a case going that route.

JMO,

Bergie

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Thank you, Bergie! I think presenting the case in person is a good route, because I will know that they are getting all of the info that I want them to have, aka the ortho's medical opinion. Are DRO's intimidating for the veteran? My only fear with a NOD is that the VA will try to say that the condition was fixed with the surgery and that I worded the claim wrong, giving no attention to the djd. Thank you for your feedback!

You definately want to file a NOD. I suggest that you request a DRO hearing to be able to present your case in person. Your denial is not surprising it happens frequently, your best bet is to have an ortho surgeon write you a letter that explains the disease and the facts of your case that it had to start in-service. I always advise the vets I help to go the DRO hearing route I've not lost a case going that route.

JMO,

Bergie

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