FROM THE RETIREMENT VARO
IN FT. PETERSBURG
I read literally thousands of decisions a week searching for gotchas, no nexus, and frivolous filings that aggravate all of us. Here is the perfect example of what happens when you deviate from the game plan and speak without the Teleprompter. You realize maybe your claim is a little skinny or missing that Je ne sais quoi so you fluff it up a little bit and suddenly the vA rater dude perks up and says “Well, hey now. There you go. We have to consider this new risk and factor it into the equation.” That’s just the setup for the SOC (Statement of the Case) letter. If you’re still adding in nail clippers at the Form 9 ceremony then you may want to consider going out and having a chat with somebody who has an MD after his last name. This is just one Veteran’s esteemed opinion, mind you.
Turning to the issue of service connection on a nonpresumptive basis, the Board initially notes that the Veteran is currently diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C. This was first diagnosed in May 2005. He has been treated by VA since that time for his hepatitis C. Thus, the first element of service connection has been met.
The Board also finds that the second element of service connection, an in-service injury or event, has been met. There is competent, credible evidence of in-service risk factors for the disease. In this regard, the Veteran has provided various statements that while in service, he shared razors with other soldiers, received airgun inoculations, and was exposed to other soldier’s blood.
The Board finds, however, that there is no evidence in support of the Veteran’s claim for the third prong of service connection – a nexus between the in-service event or injury, and the current diagnosis. Indeed, there is no competent medical evidence to suggest a nexus between the Veteran’s in-service inoculations and blood exposure, and his current diagnosis. See Hickson, 12 Vet. App. at 253. The only competent medical evidence addressing the etiology of the Veteran’s hepatitis C is the January 2009 examiner’s negative opinion regarding a nexus to service.
Son of a gun. This is the problem. Like Pinnochio, the nose grows. Each retelling of the story adds and embellishes a little more to tease the reader. In this case it was like a trail of breadcrumbs to the next one culminating in the Form 9. vA is playing this guy like a professional bass fisherman. Carefully backing the boat up to get the fish out into open water is the first phase. Then allow him to expend all his energy struggling before you scoop him up in the BVA denial net.
During treatment at the VA medical center in February 2006, the Veteran indicated that he was possibly exposed to someone else’s blood while stationed in Korea.
Gee. I wonder if any of those kind, considerate VAMC caregivers might have suggestively proposed that theory?
In a June 2008 statement, the Veteran reported that he was given airgun inoculations during service, and that the inoculation-providers did not change the needles in the airguns. He also asserted that while stationed at Fort Lewis, waiting for his transfer to South Korea, he was forced one time to shave with another soldier’s razor, and that the cooking and kitchen patrol duties at Fort Lewis were done outside in a filthy environment.
Here’s where a careful parsing of Wikipedia would have been incredibly useful in instructing the concept of hepatitis A and its oral/fecal route of transmission versus HCV’s blood route.
The Veteran was provided a VA examination in January 2009. He informed the examiner that he stopped drinking in January 1992, previously having drank two to five beers every two to three months. He denied having blood transfusions, multiple sexual partners, tattoos, repeated body piercings, hemodialysis, intranasal cocaine use, and intravenous drug use. The Veteran believed he was exposed to hepatitis C while in service by airgun inoculation and by using other soldiers’ razors. He also indicated that he had occupational blood exposure during service.
This is what sank the battleship. It indicates he’s doing some reading in an effort to add the perfect icing on the cake. Unaware of what he’s done to destroy every ounce of credibility, he continues to the end thinking it will be the magic key to the kingdom.
In his April 2009 notice of disagreement (NOD), the Veteran stated that he had no other risk factors for hepatitis C, but on his November 2009 VA Form 9 formal appeal, he added that he used another soldier’s razor to shave more than once, and shared drinking containers, cigarettes, and fingernail and toenail clippers with soldiers who were intravenous drug users.
Well there you go, pilgrim. Case solved. The fingernail clippers. Who woulda thunk? Now that the cat is out of the bag, you’ll race back to the top to see who was representing this charming storyteller. I’ll save you the trip.
Appellant represented by: Florida Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Throw in the fact that he’s from Ft. Petersburg and you see the problem. They had this guy on the ropes from the git go. He has scars on his arms from scraping the sides of the cattle chute. This ought to be against the law. You Vets in Florida might oughta boycott these bozos. They couldn’t help little old ladies across a street. They’re so mentally deficient they wear Pollack underwear (yellow in front, brown in back). Homer Simpson’s trained monkey Mojo could run circles around these guys. Or… it’s a vast, right wing conspiracy to deprive us of our legitimate due.
Disregard all after conspiracy. This is nothing more than vA Standard Operating Procedure on claims adjudication. Use all arms of the Department of veterans Affairs to gather evidence and collate it for later review in the denial. Better yet, follow the advice I put forth in the book and chronologically assemble the claim. Recall it all. Write it down. There is only one story and one theory. Stay on course.
Or, in the alternative, utilize Johnboy’s technique here called “Fail To Plan. Plan To Fail.” He has 18 days counting today to get his NOA up to 625 Wagonburner Lane NW.