Jump to content


  • veteranscrisisline-badge-chat-1.gif

  • Advertisemnt

  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

    Click here to purchase your digital journal. HadIt.com receives a commission on each purchase.

  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

    questions-001@3x.png

    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 ...
    Continue Reading
     
  • Ads

  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

    tinnitus-005.pngptsd-005.pnglumbosacral-005.pngscars-005.pnglimitation-flexion-knee-005.pngdiabetes-005.pnglimitation-motion-ankle-005.pngparalysis-005.pngdegenerative-arthitis-spine-005.pngtbi-traumatic-brain-injury-005.png

  • Advertisemnt

  • VA Watchdog

  • Advertisemnt

  • Ads

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

    employment 2.jpeg

    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

Sign in to follow this  
Guest Speaking Out

Medical Malpractice At The Va-indianapolis

Recommended Posts

Guest Speaking Out

I am a 35 year old veteran who is a rape survivor from active duty in the USAF. I filed charges and the rapist was given an other than honorable discharge lieu of court martial. It was explained to me that..."the rape wasn't violent enough for him to get any real jail time." This happened in 1993. I served my enlistment and was medically seperated from the AF. I had two surgeries while in. I filed for my VA benefits for PTSD, Depression, endometriosis, and migraines. I was rated at service connected for all, but the PTSD was the only compensatable at 10%. I use the VA here in Indianpolis for my healthcare. In Nov. 2003 I had an unneeded surgery due to a nursing. The nurse looked at the wrong lab results and verbally reported them to a nurse practitioner who verbally reported them to the doctor. I had some complications after the surgery. The pain medication stopped my bowels from moving and I was in extreme pain. Upon speaking with the doctor on call, she said some things that didn't make sense to me. I am a lab tech and I understood her medical talk. I questioned her, but she gave me generic answers, but after a laxative, supository, at home enima and a visit to the ER for a more powerful enima, my bowels started moving again. I followed up the next day with the women's coordinator at the VA and she was unable to pull my lab results up. They showed as pending. That means the results were not complete or certified. I knew that the only other time I had been seen at the VA in 2003 was back in Feb. when I had had a miscarriage. The women's coordinator let me know that the hospital administrator and the chief of ambulatory care had been made aware of the situation and would be contacting me. When the hospital admistrator called I asked when their investigation would be complete so that I could know what happened and he said he didn't know. I explained that their are protocals in place for reporting and investigating such errors. He said he would get back to me the next week. That week I had a conference call with the admistrator, chief of ambulatory care and the women's coordinator and was told..."Upon their investigation and speaking with the nurse involved that she looked under lab results not pending results and she reported out the test result from Feb. of that year." The hospital admistrator asked me what they could do to make this right. I told him that I understood what he meant, but I wasn't prepared to talk about that. The women's coordinator noticed the change in my tone and voice pattern and asked if I needed someone to talk to. I said yes, but not at the VA. She set me up with someone at the Vet center. I spoke again to the hospital administrator and asked what mechanism they were going to put into place so that this couldn't happen to someone else. I explained that all other major hospitals have a safety step in their computer to where if a nurse/tech looks at lab results they can only see current admissions or a 7 day range. If they want to look at something older they have to physically type in a date range. This would have saved me. He explained that the VA in Indy is part of a national system and that no changes would be made. I inquired about nurse/tech retraining to show them how easily this mistake could be made. They catagorized this error as a human error. That is true, but they have a system failure, because it is to easy for the error to occur. I told him that maybe I need someone else to handle this for me, because I couldn't handle it myself. He then offered me 15,000 dollars to no get an attorney involved. That was the last converstion I had with him. Now, when you sue the government you have to give them 180 days notice and then you go into negotioations with the VA. We did this and after two years the offer they made me in writing was 15,000 dollars. I declined it. Offers went back and forth, all of which I declined. There are many more ugly details, but to get to the point... We just had a settlement conference with a Federal Magistrate and a U.S. attorney is handling the case for the VA. They wanted to come down from their last written offer because they want an offset from any money I received from the VA from the time of the malpractice to the time I get anything for the malpractice. Also, they want to hold my disability payments until the monthly amount equals the malpractice amount. Now, the money I get from the VA monthly is for my service connected disability that I came out of the AF with that I didn't have when I went in and the tort claim is for medical malpractice. They are two seperate issues, but the VA says they shouldn't have to pay twice. If the malpractice had occured at a hospital other than the VA, the VA couldn't come and say we are going to rduce your award by what we have already given you for your service conncted disability and hold your benefits until the monthly VA amount equals what you get from this hospital. The message they are sending is that if you serve your country and you come out with a service connected disability and apply and are approved for VA benefits then the VA gets a pass on anything negligent they might do to you. Has anyone else come up against this? If I win my case it will set a precident that the VA be held accountable, but the U.S. attorney already let us know the VA will appeal it. If we lose, the precident will be set in favor of the VA. This happened to me in 2003 and it has been 3 years. Our court date is in Nov. 2007 and the judge said we'd get a ruling in 2008. If the VA appeals the decision, I might not be done with this unitl 2009. There is much more to my story, but the details are very ugly and private, but what infuriates me so much is that if the VA had taken my suggestions about upgrading the computers (a software issue not hardware), retraing their staff I probably wouldn't have sued, but they have tried to make me feel as though I am only in it for money, which is not true or I would have immediately sued and not given any time researching what changes they could make to better their system and make it safer for our Veterans. I want to make it so that no other Veteran goes through this. I consider myself a pretty with it patient, especially since I worked in health care, and if this could happen to me, what are they possibly doing to other Veterans who never question their doctors. Also, I had the surgery on a Tuesday, my complications started on Wednesday night and I followed up on Thursday. The VA new their was a problem, they didn't ever notify me. If the complications didn't arrise, I probably would have never of known. If anyone has any advice for me of how to fight the United States of America, PLEASE help. We are all we've got and we need to stick together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard here veteran-

You sure have been through a lot lately-

OK_ the FTCA- I won a settlement when the VA admitted to killing my husband.

Then I won Section 1151 benefits for DIC for an "as if " service connected death award- a nice way of saying -we did him in---

The VA offset my DIC by an agreed amount- as I administrated the veteran's estate-

I was not an executor-

I did start to see DIC checks until about 2 years ago- until the award less the offset was paid back-

We have similiar situation-

I agree with you- but these regs have never been tested-

Why should the VA offset your SC award? That is a separate situation-

Question-did you file a Section 1151 claim also?

In 2003 I discovered my husband's malpractice death had involved hiding symptoms of diabetes mellitus- service connectable in Vietnam vets due to Agent Orange Exposure.

I filed a claim for direct SC death-

The FTCA claim still stands as separate claim. I feel they would owe me a REPS benefit, funeral expenses, some Chap 35 refunds and maybe a better Chap 35 delimiting date-

But then I realised what about sending me the offset- SC death makes malpractice a moot issue-

So I see exactly where you are coming from----

It seems to me if you had filed Sec 1151 claim and was awarded "as if" SC under that for additional problems their med staff caused- they could have offset that award-

but they want to offset a direct SC award? This is outrageous and only if you and me and maybe a few others out there fight this, then a precedent will be established because there is no precedent for our type of claims.

I am stunned that you got an offer from the hospital administrator-

my offers came from General Counsel in Wash, DC.

But the hospital director filed a report within months of geting my tort claim that support it and regional attorney wanted to settle with me within months- long story- the MF showed up-

(mysterious force who makes the evidence disappear) and then it took three more years.

I commend you highly for pursuing this- dear veteran-I thought if I fought them they would not misdiagnose another vet like this at the local VAMC but 2 months after Rod died his best friend came here-and within minutes we filed a Sec 1151- they almost killed him too-he got 100% plus SMC for thier medical error and didnt want to sue.His claim took less than 4 months for award. The malpractice was obvious.

Then I found not long ago- that the VA did not take proper steps as far as informing JHACO or any any other entity who should have known about the wrongful death of my husband.

They are pretty good at hushing up this stuff-

You made a good point-

"The VA new their was a problem, they didn't ever notify me. If the complications didn't arrise, I probably would have never of known."

If my case Rod filed charges against them 6 months before he died and stated in the Sec 1151 claim he thought they would kill him.

When he dropped dead suddenly in our barn- at 47 years old -I knew something was odd-

I filed the tort right away and then got the autopsy report and figured out some med entries and sure enough-he was right.

The offset crap is written in granite-these are the regs-but you can file a NOD on this as soon as it comes out of your SC check and argue your point.

As soon as I get a decision on my AO claim I will probably filing a NOD ASAP too as to the offset-

10% SC for PTSD is way too low veteran- for what you went through- then again- if this gets to higher rating -they will try to take it all anyhow-to recoup the FTCA.

These regs have never been challenged-me and you and maybe some others out there-

we have to fight for this-

SC disability is a disability independent of a malpractice award.

VA pulls 38 CFR 16.22 sometimes- prohibition on duplication of benefits-

malpractice awards are not the same as direct SC awards.

They (VA) have to be taught that lesson and it might take a battle.

Berta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lisa

Welcome to Hadit I am sorry that you were not treated better by the Military. You deserved better. I hope that you win your claim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Speaking Out

Berta

Thanks for your response. How did you find out the VA didn't report to JHACO? Also, what is a section 1151 and and NOD. I have an attorney, but I've done more work on this that he has and I'm trying to get as much info as possible. Thanks! Lisa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"How did you find out the VA didn't report to JHACO"

Ironically JHACO did a regular SOP review of the VAMC the same week that the services were there for my husband-he was buried in the VA Cemetery over a month after he died.

I invited them (JHACO) to come to all this- of course they didnt- but it was still big news around the hospital that this young Vietnam vet (47)had died suddenly , many knew him at the VAMC=Rod had worked there and he was part of the Day treatment and PTSD programs, and I was beginning to question his doctors.The VA had sent him another vets meds in the mailer days before he died-the pharmacy was jumping hoops on that one-

and that news too was still all over the VAMC.

Years later I could not get any reports from JHACO under FOIA and they stated about 2 years ago that this was part of old records that do not exist anymore.

I called the Chief of the NY ViSN also-and he told me he should have been informed of all this but wasn't.

This could have easily been a wrongful death that no one ever questioned-

and no one would have ever found out-

One VAMC covered up what the other VAMC had done.

They did file an incident report when they found out they had mailed him another vets meds by mistake days before he died.

I say they covered it up-and recently told the RC I finally found out not long ago.Long story there ---However not a single medical record or entry was ever changed or altered by the VA. I helped with other claims like this and they never altered any records.They dont do that.

They sent me the complete med records and the records themselves held the proof of malpractice.

It involved countless doctors and incidents- not just a few-

the IMO I got from a former VA doctor was from the only doctor who was ready to diagnose and treat the veteran for his true condition.He was overruled at the time.

NOD ----Notice of Disagreement- the formal beginning of an appeal.

In the Notice of Disagreement you state why you disagree with any denial they have made on a claim.

Section 1151. 38 USC- claim- this is a claim for when the VA has caused a veteran additional disability due to medical error or malpractice.

No time limit to file. Rod filed a Section 1151 claim because his PTSD was not being treated properly. He added that he feared -since the PTSD therapy he received was so deficient that they probably would misdiagnose other conditions he had, like strokes and heart disease and that they would ultimately cause his death. He told me to make sure I re-opened this claim if he died.

He died 6 months later.His charges were proven true.

Once a FTCA tort is filed the Section 1151 claim shoud state basically the same charges as in the tort claim on the SF 95.

A vet considering Sec 1151or FTCA should get copies of all their med recs from the VA before filing this types of claims.

They don't change medical records, just that- that is when it seems they start to lose and misplace the evidence. They write 1151 all over the c file for these claims and will stall them if they can.

I had no attorney nor did I have any independent medical opinion for my FTCA.

I dealt directly with VACO Medical team,the RC and the GC myself.

Edited by Berta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Johnny Adams
      Good Morning,
      I have a few questions about SMC.  I currently receive SMC S, for I have 70% PTSD and have 50% for Sleep Apnia, 40% for Fybromyalgia, 30% Migranes, 20% for Cervical Spine, and 10% for TBI and a host of about 9 other things all listed at the 10% Disability rating.  Would they just look at new A/A that I just submitted or would they pyramid me to the SMC t?  this is so confusing.  Thanks for any help.
    • By JaeT.21
      I have 4 C&P exams this Friday. All for increases. (Migraine, PTSD/depression/anxiety/chronic pain/agoraphobia, bilateral foot pain and knee pain increase [including VA issued knee brace and civilian issued AFO foot brace]).
      Should I have my wife ad adult kids who both witness and suffer from my mood swings, depression, anxiety and antisocial like living on a daily basis? They can also talk about my constant leg pain and migraines.
      I also want my supervisor to do one regarding my migraines that have me leaving work early, alot. But that is a touchy subject, because I don't want me asking him to affect my employment.  Also I hide a lot from them, to keep my job, like  just suffer with headaches and migraines at work. Or fake my way through the day, pretending to want to be around people. 
       
    • By asknod
      Fifty years in the making. Five filings since 1971. Welcome home, Bob.  A truly fitting Christmas present.
      Remember the magic words: " leave no one behind".
      https://asknod.org/2019/12/29/vba-portland-you-know-it-dont-come-easy/
    • By rightstrivinsissy
      Hello Hadit Helpers, 
      I feel like I am stumbling around blind. I hope someone can help me see.
      I was service connected in 2011 severe anxiety due to mst and a bladder condition.
      I have not had gainful employment since ETSing in 2004. I was re-evaluated for an increase and received an overall 70 - 40 -10 but started being payed at 80% in 2016. 
      In June of 2019 I applied for TDIU. I hit the make a decision now button on ebenefits, which was like shooting my own foot for lack of patience, not realizing that this meant the VA could not request any further info from me.
      In August I was denied, and obtained an attorney. 
      The attorney took over and ebenefits is showing the privacy act starting on October 4th and my claim is now in the evidence gathering/decision making process. Estimated end date of April 2020, the attorney says 3 years, but I know there are new systems in place to make things move a little quicker.
      I am looking for any information that you all would have about what is actually happening. I don't know if this is a NOD or what. My case manager acts like I am a major pain and won't give me any info and I fear she has no idea what she is actually doing. =(
      I assume it is not an actual appeal yet, because my case manager said they would have to wait for my c-file before they would appeal on the next denial from the VA.  
      I am so confused, If any of you experts could find the time to help me I would greatly appreciate it. I have always dealt with the VA on my own with no previous denials, but never fully understood what I was doing. I thought hiring an attorney would change this, but I still feel just as blind as before.
    • By duffman88
      SECTION I:
      ---------- 1. Diagnostic Summary --------------------- Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria based on today's evaluation? [X] Yes [ ] No
      ICD code: F43.12
      2.Current Diagnoses -------------------- a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis
      #1: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ICD code: F43.12 Comments, if More likely than not secondary to military combat trauma.
      Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Persistent Depressive Disorder, with persistent Major Depressive Episode ICD code: F34.1 Comments, if any: More likely than not incurred during active duty military service.
      Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: Alcohol Use Disorder ICD code: F10.20 Comments, if any: More likely than not secondary to diagnoses 1 and 2.
      b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the mental health disorder (to include TBI): Obesity
      3. Differentiation of symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No
      b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A)
      If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: The veteran's symptoms can be partially differentiated. The symptoms specifically attributable to PTSD include those that reflect a reexperiencing of trauma (for example, nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive memories), hyper arousal (for example, exaggerated startle reflex and hypervigilance), and avoidance of trauma reminders. Other symptoms are nonspecific and may reflect PTSD and/or depression. These symptoms include irritability, depressed mood, negative cognitions about self and others, sleep disturbance, diminished participation in significant activities, and disconnection from other people.
      The veteran's excessive use of alcohol can be understood as reflective of the avoidance symptoms of PTSD; the effect of the alcohol is to cause intoxication that allows the veteran to temporarily avoid other PTSD symptoms through alcohol "self-medication."
      c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not shown in records reviewed
      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 with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/or mood
      b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A) If no, provide reason: The impact of the veteran's mental conditions on social and occupational functioning is interrelated and overlapping, and therefore it is not possible to reliably differentiate the independent impact of each one on the veteran's functioning.
      c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate which occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not Applicable (N/A)
      SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):
      [X] VA e-folder
      [X] CPRS
      Evidence Comments:
      The veteran's electronic claims file and VA records were reviewed. The veteran's claims file includes a DD 214 document showing entry into the US Army on November 17, 2009 with an honorable discharge at a rank of E4 on July 22, 2014. The reason for separation is listed as weight control failure. A separation medical examination dated April 20, 2014 is marked "normal" for psychiatric clinical evaluation. In support of the veterans claim for PTSD he provided written statements describing 2 stressful incidents as follows: 1) artillery attack in Afghanistan in January or February 2011, 2) Suicide of best friend on Christmas Day 2013. The veteran's VA records show that he was seen at the Newburg CBOC by the primary care mental health integration staff on July 27, 2016 at which time he was reporting symptoms including depression, feelings of worthlessness, sleep disturbance, and frustration. The diagnoses listed were "anger, anxiety." Records do not indicate the veteran followed up this appointments
      with additional sessions. The veteran was seen on January 17, 2019 at the Dayton VA Medical Ctr Prime care mental health integration program, where his chief complaint related to depressive symptoms that had begun shortly after his grandfather's death in 2011. He also reported the loss of 2 friends to suicide in 2012 and 2013. He reported symptoms including anergia, amotivation, depressed mood, irritability, and increased appetite as well as some anxiety symptoms that began in 2014 after separating from the military and included wanting to leave crowded situations and vague hypervigilance symptoms. The veteran reported that his depressive symptoms were his primary concern. He was diagnosed with unspecified depressive disorder (with rule out for major depressive disorder versus persistent depressive disorder) and unspecified anxiety disorder, (with rule out for generalized anxiety disorder versus PTSD). Records show the veteran was scheduled for group treatment following the initial assessment, but did not show, and has not returned to the VA for mental health treatment since then.
      2. History
      a. Relevant social/marital/family history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran reported that he was raised in a small town in Ohio, living with his mother and grandparents until about age 10. His natural father was not in the picture. The veteran's stepfather entered his life when he was about 8, and later adopted him. The veteran also has 3 younge r sisters. He reported that he was treated very well by his parents and grandparents. He was involved in baseball and other sports, and had no significant academic problems. He graduated high school on time then briefly attended college. The veteran was married to his first wife before entering the military, but she left him when he was deployed to Afghanistan. That marriage never produced children. The veteran and his current wife have been married 7 years, and they have 2 children, ages 4 and 2. The veteran stated the relationship is "shitty" right now because he doesn't talk to his wife and he pushes her away. He said that she has talked about separating, and it was in January of this year that he finally sought treatment because she threatened to leave and take the children. The veteran stated the children are the only thing that brings a smile to his face.
      b. Relevant occupational and educational history (pre-military, military, and post-military): Prior to entering the military, the veteran briefly attended college, and then went to NASCAR tech school in North Carolina, but "it wasn't for me." He joined the military approximately at age 22. He was trained in artillery and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. The veteran's duty in Afghanistan included providing FOB security, and tell her guard duty. Occasionally, they shot artillery.
      Military trauma:
      Stressor #1: Early in his tour while stationed in Bagram, the base was attacked with artillery fire. The veteran stated he was terrified and petrified. He was out smoking near the command post when the shells started hitting. He dove between some barriers and other people dove on top of him. He could hear the shells hitting and recalled turning over to see them flying overhead. After the shelling stopped, the veteran was frozen. His Sgt. slapped him. They had taken many incoming that day, and though nobody was killed in his platoon, the veteran doesn't know if others on the base were harmed. After that day, he remained always on alert and tried not to think about it.
      Stressor #2: Later, he was stationed in Salerno, Afghanistan when another artillery strike occurred. Again, the veteran froze.
      Stressor #3: A third incident occurred when he was stationed at COB Zormat - they took incoming artillery and returned artillery in response. Once again, the veteran froze, and was taken aside by his Sgt. who chewed him out, shamed him, and told him to hide his fear. The veteran stated he was afraid to say anything to anyone because he feared he looked like "a xxxxx." While in Afghanistan, the veteran received word from his wife that she wanted a divorce. The veteran stated that his friend helped him through his distress. In 2013, on Christmas day, his friend committed suicide. The veteran stated that when he heard of this, he was angry, including anger at himself for not seeing the warning signs. Veteran stated that his friend's suicide has ruined Christmas for him ever since. Post military occupational functioning: The veteran has been unable to maintain employment since his military discharge. In the first few years post discharge he held 4 to 5 different jobs, the longest being less than a year. Then, he found work as a corrections officer in a prison in Kentucky. However, the
      veteran's depression, drinking, calling off work, anxiety, and irritability, resulted in him being terminated after about 2 years. He got into trouble for losing his temper with the captain and cussing her out. In May 2018, he moved to Ohio having landed another job as a corrections officer with a prison in London. He was there less than 6 months before being terminated. Again, he was having difficulty due to anxiety, irritability, depression, poor attendance, and drinking. He briefly worked at the Post Office as a mail carrier after that, but couldn't get enough sleep, felt depressed, and felt that everyone who worked there was from the military. He couldn't stand it. The veteran has been unemployed for some months now. He wishes to return to school and earned his bachelor's degree. Even at school, he had difficulty because people wanted to ask him about his military service and he always wanted to avoid it.
      c. Relevant mental health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran stated that he was never the same after his deployment. He has felt fearful, depressed, and worthless. He experienced the loss of his grandfather while he was deployed, and the loss of his friend to suicide in 2013. The veteran stated he sleeps poorly, waking up many times throughout the night, and dreaming about artillery attacks. He has intrusive thoughts about his military trauma and other negative military experiences, and at times has physical symptoms including rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, and trembling. He drinks excessively as an apparent avoidance technique. He has problems with anger outbursts and irritability. He has hypervigilance, problems concentrating, exaggerated startle reflex, feelings of guilt, feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, inability to connect with others, and wonders if others would be better off if he were dead. The veteran second-guesses his actions in Afghanistan and thinks he could've done better and "I should've manned up." He said he feels worthless. He wonders why he cowered when his base was attacked. He shakes when he hears loud noises, and can't tolerate fireworks. He rarely does activities unless he must, and generally just wants to be by himself. He sees others as threatening, and feels disconnected from everyone including his wife, with the exception of his children, and more recently, his therapist Dr. Ward. The veteran stated he has lost interest in things he used to enjoy, most notably sports. He overeats and drinks excessively. He avoids his friends because he doesn't want to talk about the military. He dropped
      out of school because people kept asking about his military service. He hates going to his parents home because his mother has erected a "shrine" to him in their living room, and he is to fearful of disappointing his parents to tell them how much he hates it. The veteran sought treatment earlier this year, and has now been working with a psychologist in Spring field, Dr. Ward, for 4-5 months. He stated that Dr. Ward is the one person he feels close to. They recently began EMDR therapy. The veteran has been referred for medication, but is awaiting his first appointment.
      d. Relevant legal and behavioral history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran has no history of legal problems.
      e. Relevant substance abuse history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The veteran has been drinking excessively since his return from Afghanistan. He estimates that he was drinking a bottle of hard liquor per day at his peak. It has decreased somewhat recently as he has been engaged in therapy, but he continues to drink quite heavily. f. Other, if any: No response provided.
      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: Artillery attacks at Bagram and Salerno, Afghanistan 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? [X] Yes [ ] No
      Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [ ] Yes [X] No
      4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Note: 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)
      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] 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 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 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/herself 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] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
      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] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects. [X] Reckless or self-destructive behavior. [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless 
      Criterion F: [X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is more than 1 month.
      Criterion G: [X] The disturbance causes 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
      5. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Suspiciousness [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting
      6. Behavioral Observations -------------------------- The veteran arrived on time for his scheduled examination. His identity was confirmed by having him provide his full name and date of birth. The veteran presents as a tall, obese, Caucasian male who appears the stated age. He was dressed casually and exhibited good grooming and hygiene. He had tattoos visible on his lower and upper extremities. His posture, gait, and psychomotor activity were within normal limits. His manner of interaction was cooperative, courteous, and friendly. His speech was normal in rate, rhythm, tone, and volume. His thought processes were clear, logical, coherent, and goal-directed. Veteran reported his mood to be depressed, with affect congruent. He denied suicidal ideation, but admitted to thoughts of death and wondering if others would be better off without him. He denied homicidal ideation as well as auditory and visual hallucinations.
      7. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [ ] Yes [X] No
      8. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No
      .9 Remarks, (including any testing results) if any -------------------------------------------------- In my opinion, the veteran meets DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, which is more likely than not secondary to military trauma. In this veteran's case, there is a strong component of shame that is also associated with his military service and is foundationally related to his depressive disorder. His experience of freezing during 3 artillery attacks is something that is associated with feelings of overwhelming shame, worthlessness, helplessness, and inadequacy for the veteran. These thoughts and feelings contribute significantly to his depressive condition, and contribute meaningfully to his PTSD symptoms as well. The veteran also experienced significant losses during military service that have likely aggravated his PTSD and depressive conditions. Notably, the veteran's grandfather died in 2011 when the veteran was deployed to Afghanistan, and his best friend committed suicide on Christmas day in 2013. Both losses were experienced by the veteran as emotionally traumatic and contribute to his symptomatology. The veteran has developed a dysfunctional coping mechanism of excessive alcohol intake in his efforts to suppress negative feelings associated with his traumas. As his excessive alcohol use appears to be largely in the service of avoidance of distress and suppression of intrusive/reexperiencing symptoms, it is my opinion that his alcohol use disorder is secondary to his PTSD and depressive disorders. The veteran's mental health symptoms have severely impaired his functional capacity. He is socially disengaged and avoidant. He has difficulty expressing himself emotionally, showing empathy, or forming emotional bonds with others. Occupationally, the veteran has exhibited significant dysfunction as he has been unable to maintain employment due to anxiety, depression, avoidance, alcohol abuse, irritability, shame. Hs shame about his reactions of freezing during artillery attacks prompts him to avoid interpersonal interactions as much as possible as he fears that the topic of his military service will arise. Recently, the veteran has begun outpatient mental health treatment in the form of individual counseling, and he is awaiting an appointment for trial of medication.
  • Ads

  • Our picks

    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
    • Peggy toll free 1000 last week, told me that, my claim or case BVA Granted is at the RO waiting on someone to sign off ,She said your in step 5 going into step 6 . That's good, right.?
      • 7 replies
    • I took a look at your documents and am trying to interpret what happened. A summary of what happened would have helped, but I hope I am interpreting your intentions correctly:


      2003 asthma denied because they said you didn't have 'chronic' asthma diagnosis


      2018 Asthma/COPD granted 30% effective Feb 2015 based on FEV-1 of 60% and inhalational anti-inflamatory medication.

      "...granted SC for your asthma with COPD w/dypsnea because your STRs show you were diagnosed with asthma during your military service in 1995.


      First, check the date of your 2018 award letter. If it is WITHIN one year, file a notice of disagreement about the effective date. 

      If it is AFTER one year, that means your claim has became final. If you would like to try to get an earlier effective date, then CUE or new and material evidence are possible avenues. 

       

      I assume your 2003 denial was due to not finding "chronic" or continued symptoms noted per 38 CFR 3.303(b). In 2013, the Federal Circuit court (Walker v. Shinseki) changed they way they use the term "chronic" and requires the VA to use 3.303(a) for anything not listed under 3.307 and 3.309. You probably had a nexus and benefit of the doubt on your side when you won SC.

      It might be possible for you to CUE the effective date back to 2003 or earlier. You'll need to familiarize yourself with the restrictions of CUE. It has to be based on the evidence in the record and laws in effect at the time the decision was made. Avoid trying to argue on how they weighed a decision, but instead focus on the evidence/laws to prove they were not followed or the evidence was never considered. It's an uphill fight. I would start by recommending you look carefully at your service treatment records and locate every instance where you reported breathing issues, asthma diagnosis, or respiratory treatment (albuterol, steroids, etc...). CUE is not easy and it helps to do your homework before you file.

      Another option would be to file for an increased rating, but to do that you would need to meet the criteria for 60%. If you don't meet criteria for a 60% rating, just ensure you still meet the criteria for 30% (using daily inhaled steroid inhalers is adequate) because they are likely to deny your request for increase. You could attempt to request an earlier effective date that way.

       

      Does this help?
    • Thanks for that. So do you have a specific answer or experience with it bouncing between the two?
    • Tinnitus comes in two forms: subjective and objective. In subjective tinnitus, only the sufferer will hear the ringing in their own ears. In objective tinnitus, the sound can be heard by a doctor who is examining the ear canals. Objective tinnitus is extremely rare, while subjective tinnitus is by far the most common form of the disorder.

      The sounds of tinnitus may vary with the person experiencing it. Some will hear a ringing, while others will hear a buzzing. At times people may hear a chirping or whistling sound. These sounds may be constant or intermittent. They may also vary in volume and are generally more obtrusive when the sufferer is in a quiet environment. Many tinnitus sufferers find their symptoms are at their worst when they’re trying to fall asleep.

      ...................Buck
        • Like
  • Ads

  • Popular Contributors

  • Ad

  • Latest News
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines