While I compliment the VLJ on his candid observation that the Nashville Cats at the Nashville VARO aren’t playin’ as clean as country water, the cause is lost. Judge Michael E. Kilcoyne has been around the BVA for quite some time. He has seen innumerable cases come up the ladder. As hopeless as this seems, he is still going to insist that the VARO give the poor Vet a blindfold before the firing squad cocks and locks.
It’s almost unconscionable in this day and age that an organization as august as the DVA purports to be would kick Sgt. John Doe to the curb without performing due diligence on his claim. This stinks. He’s obviously filed his “Fetch!” forms (VA Form 21-4142 – Authorization and Consent to Release Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ) with them as it says as much. His Tennessee DVA (the VSO) doesn’t appear to be into the Lovin’ Spoonful because they sure aren’t on the same page. In fact, about the only one on the same page with him is Hizzoner Kilcoyne who is several hundred miles away.
Another one who seems to be overly helpful is his wife. I got out the magnifying glass to see if the prefix “ex-“ had escaped me, but alas, it just wasn’t there. This is worse than a bad hair day:
Furthermore, as mentioned supra, the Veteran has reported engaging in various hepatitis C risk-related activities during service, and the Veteran’s spouse has reported discovering the Veteran’s illicit drug use approximately six months after his discharge from service.
A word to the wise. While I abhor the idea of lying to the VA, there is really nothing a spouse is going to be able to contribute to your claim that is beneficial. Camp followers went out of style after the War of Northern Aggression (that’s the “Civil War” for all of you from Chicago). Here, it was fatal. I commend his spouse for her honesty. She must have been briefed by the VSO on how helpful this would be for his claim. Has anyone a better hypothesis? Feel free to contribute. This is a forum. I feel she could have submitted a statement on his ills and how the disease impacted his life. Assuming she was like my spouse, I doubt she would have purposefully sabotaged the process and thus deprived them both of a potentially compensable grant of SC. I fear we’ll never know.
One of the things that makes this beyond the pale is that the VARO is in Nashville and they were too lazy to even send over to the hospital (which is less than 18 miles away) to get his medrecs. How lame is that? No one I’ve met who has been subjected to the VA “experience” has ever had a cheerful chipmunk attitude about it. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. Disobeying the law and pissing off the VLJ is not going to win you friends anywhere but at the VARO. What’s worse is that there’s no complaint form that will ever punish the miscreants or reprimand them for committing such an obvious error. Wasted time? No big. We’re gonna be here for the next 15 years waiting for the golden parachute. We’re indemnified. Like, what are you going to do? Sue us?
This will wend its way back to the venerable VLJ in due time- probably about 16 to 18 months from now- with another Dear Sgt. John letter attached. It will dutifully be noted that there is still no medical nexus forthcoming other than the one thoughtfully and meticulously prepared by those sweet, utterly efficient little VA raters on their busy little hamster wheels cranking out justice for all. All his damning medical records documenting numerous mentions of a former life of sin and degradation will now be collated, color tabbed and part and parcel of his C-file . There will also be highlighted portions wherein he has turned over the new leaf after service with the help of wife and church. Amen.
The VLJ will then intone a mournful soliloquy about willful misconduct and how it cannot be rewarded. The Judge will finally pronounce Extreme Unction and wash his hands ceremoniously. The inevitable is so foregone as to be anticlimactic. Nevertheless, the music must be allowed to finish before the dancers can retire from the floor. At some point after this is over, the SO will pipe up and say something dumb like “Who would’ve figured? Are you buying?”
Peter of Menalteed fame has a wonderful suggestion for all this claptrap. Why not have an impartial jury of seven composed of say, two VA poobahs to bring the correct rules and regulations to the table; a third, an impartial lawyer well-versed in the same discipline, to keep an eye on the poobahs and prevent mission creep; and lastly, two unversed civilians and two military personnel to approximate the term “of his peers” with no ax to grind. Hand them the evidence and everyone can play Pontius Pilate using their thumbs to affirm or deny. This should separate the ribbon clerks from the poker players. They can remand for more evidence as necessary as many times as they want-just as they do now. This can be done in person in small cities everywhere. It will be synonymous with regular jury duty and you’ll be exercising your rights and duties as only a loyal American can. What could be more perfect? I suppose this might upset the jobs applecart at the VAROs , but what the hey? We can retrain them on the concept of Innocent until proven guilty instead of the obverse. Yep. Pretty soon they’ll be saying things like “Stinky, dude! What a totally new concept! Imagine treating a Vet’s testimony as being potentially credible instead of merely “contentions? Is that tubular or what?”
I admonish Vets not to hold their breath as it makes those little black spots in the corners of one’s vision such as when you stand up too rapidly. In time, grasshopper. Just think. Twenty years ago they were looking at us and saying “Hep. C? There is no such thing and you sure as hell didn’t get it from no toilet seat in the service, sonny. Now move on.”
Ladies and gentlemen Vets: I give you former Sgt. John Doe of Saint Petersburg, Florida where all veterans go to file. He then moved back to Nashville.
Onwards through the Fog. Vote For Oat Willie in ’12.
“A word to the wise. While I abhor the idea of lying to the VA, there is really nothing a spouse is going to be able to contribute to your claim that is beneficial.”
I say that in the contemporaneous sense. Most spouses did not accompany their men to war. They can make no pronouncements on what transpired in their absence. Please consider the comment in the context it was expressed in. I mean no offense to anyone by the comment. It’s an observation of sorts -crude perhaps, but said in an objective vein.
I wonder if he even knows he is on death row. The sad part is I don’t think that cowboy was much of a drug user. It just doesn’t read like he was. I think that the VSO looked at the CDC risk factors and saw that IV drug use was at the top of the list so that is how he must have gotten it, right? Believe it or not there are some really ignorant pig-farmers around here that think like that. I can hear the VSO now: “Well, did you bump into a needle? Pick one up? See anybody doin it?” Mention the PTSD and he had a reason to self medicate. I don’t think there was any evidence at all in his MPR of drug abuse. That is why his wife said she found evidence of illicit drugs within six months of EOS. If it was longer than six months then the judge might have thought he didn’t do any drugs in service and thus didn’t pick it up until after service.
You asked for folks to opine…so I did. Not that I ever hold back or anything like that! 🙂
As far as the way the VARO handled his claim…been there, done that. Still trying to get my VARO to give me an exam to determine the etiology. I am on my third denial now….