Pending Appeal?

Discussion in 'General Medical' started by CDRUM1, May 24, 2007.

  1. CDRUM1

    CDRUM1 New Member

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    I'm having some issues with a disability claim that I filed with the VA. A little background information-I served in the Army from 1991 to 1997 I was stationed at Ft Bragg for almost 4 years on jump status I received an Honorable Discharge-medical for my shoulder (long story there), but that isn't the issue.-I injured my back while I was on active duty and have had problems with it ever since. I was placed on quarters for an entire week for this injury along with receiving Mortin this is in my medical records (wording that the medic used to describe my injury-had radicular symptoms to right leg). I went back to see the medics several times-each time they gave me Motrin to deal with the pain. When I got out of the Army in 1997 I filed my claim with the VA for a back injury I suffered while on Active Duty-that was initially denied, because I really didn't have any supporting documentation-I completely understand that. Back then I didn't know what was required to establish a strong case, and again the problems I was having weren't so severe that I couldn't live a fairly normal life-so again I decided to just live with the pain like I did while I was on active duty (back issues are also noted in my exit exam). After several years (2000) my back condition worsened-I've had 2 back surgeries, 7 epidural injection, 1 nerve block, and physical therapy several times-nothing has worked for me. My medications help some throughout the day but I have to take so much during my work hours I often wonder how I'm able to do my job, because I am zombie every single day with all the medications I have to take- (Hydrocodone 7.5/APAP 750MG tabs usually 3-6 tablets daily, Gabapentin (Neurontin) 300mg 6 capsules by mouth 3 times a day, and muscle relaxants I have to alternate because they aren’t very effective, Cyclobenzaprine 10MG 1 tablet 3 time a day/Piroxicam 20MG 1 tablet per day). I am in chronic pain to the point that I can't stand or sit for any period of time frequently having to alternate between the 2 to try to get some kind of pain relief. The pain limits the things I can do whether it’s driving anything other than short distances, being an active part in my sons life, or just mowing my yard and some nights I am unable to sleep because the pain is so unbearable. I’ve become very sedentary because any kind of physical activity causes me pain while performing those activities and even more discomfort in the following days if I do choose to participate. This disability has greatly affected my quality of life-I can’t remember the last time I was able to do anything without being in pain. I wouldn't be asking questions but this whole process seems like the Veterans Administration is just giving me the run around-like I had an evaluation physical in April or May of 2006-then the VA calls me and tells me that that evaluation is invalid because the doctor didn't review my military medical records. I know that the VA is swamped and under pressure right now to correct a lot of the issues that have been plaguing them for years, but I am very fearful that at some point I won't be able to walk or work. I am really terrified, because of how this is progressing. My back condition is going doing hill, numbness, pain, tingling, my legs give out from time to time, and other serious problems. I've done everything that my doctors have recommended and I only continue to get worse. They scheduled me for another evaluation which I went to in January or February of this year. The orthopaedic doctor that did this evaluation was a doctor at the Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic here in San Antonio. He noticed that I walked with a limp during the evaluation so he ordered some x-rays of my hips and lower extremities. His findings were that my left leg was 4cm shorter than my right leg. I broke my left leg when I 15 years old right above my knee-so the doctors is concluding that I broke it on the growth plate and it's always been shorter than my right leg. He also thinks that the examinning doctor for my entrance exam should have caught that (it's also in my medical records that I broke my leg at the age of 15 right above my left knee). Both doctors that were in the room stated that I should have never been allowed to join the military with that defect (I never know it was shorter). So with the misalignment in my spine all the running, jumping out of airplanes, road marching caused havoc on my spine. I am just wondering what you all think will happen now-the DRO has my file.
  2. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    If everything you wrote is the sum total of what's in your claim, I'd say the DRO is going to reject it again. I don't see anywhere you have a doctors diagnosis of a compensable condition, nor do I see anything relating to a nexus, a doctor stating he has examined you and your service record and finds "more likely than not" the diagnosed condition is related to your military service. You also don't say when you were first injured or that you can show continuity of treatment between the first injury and when you first made your claim. Taking Motrin is like saying they gave you aspirin. It's over the counter drugs for mild pain and an inflammation. You were given a C&P, what did the doctor say? Do you have a diagnosis and nexus from your doctor? What do your service medical records say about the injury? What, exactly, does it say in the "Reasons and Bases" section of your decision?
  3. CDRUM1

    CDRUM1 New Member

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    Pending Claim

    Sorry I didn't include the 2 statements I have - the first statement is from my primary care physician a VA doctor - "medical records were reviewed dating from a period when calvin was on active duty which document a back injury sustained in september 1992. Had radicular symptoms to the right leg at that time. It is at least likely as not that his present back condition and right sciatica is related to the back injury sustained while on active duty." The other statement is from my civilian neurologist - "calvin as you are aware, has a record of military duty including repetitive parachute jumps with a documented history of low back pain dating back to his history of military service, including notations in his 1997 discharge exam, and supervisor's statement demonstrating the chronicity of his complaints. I believe that it is as likely as not that his present back condition has significaant contribution from his period of military service given the nature of his service injury."
    I continued to complain about the pain in my lower back but they never did anything other than give me quarters and prescribe Motrin. I have documented history of treatment starting in 2000. The C&P doctors are the ones who stated that I should have never been allowed to join the military because my left leg was shorter at the time of entrance to the Army.
    In the Reasons and Bases section it basically says that there isn't a definitive etiology of my current back condition, but this was prior to the statement above. After the 2nd C&P exam I believe the doctors aren't even looking at my in service injury as being the cause of my current back condition, but that the difference in the length of my legs is the root cause - and that because of my duties in the Army they accelerated the degenerative conditions in my back.
  4. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    I would say you have at least a potential to succeed if the VA overlooks the weak rationale and gap in the continuity of treatment. The medic doesn't seem to think it's all that serious as you don't get a referal to a doctor and only get OTC painkillers. A lot will be determined by what the C&P examiner has to say. See the release of information office where the exam took place and request a copy.
  5. CDRUM1

    CDRUM1 New Member

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    Again I don't believe the doctors who did my C&P are even looking at my in service injury as being the cause of my current back condition, I believe they are looking at the fact that I have a defect. With my left leg being shorter in length than my right leg and it's a significiant difference. During the exam they both stated that I should have never been allowed to join because of the difference, and the doctor who was actually going to do the final report said that there is only one way to write his findings and that it would be in a manner that would only benefit me. Are you following what I am saying now-the in-service injury I believe isn't what they will be looking at, but the fact that I had an existing defect with was made worse by my service.
  6. TinCanMan

    TinCanMan Active Member

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    If you get a copy of their report, you will know what they did say rather than what they said they were going to say or what you think they were going to say. You can then decide what you need to do on the basis of fact rather than conjecture.

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