We often read about our hanging at a BVA Board ruling weeks after it happens. It’s predictable and usually anti-climatic. Of the many I’ve read, this one stands out for its audacity in reporting what we all know.
We always hear of the sacred “benefit of the doubt” and how the vA is the keeper of the flame. We take this as an article of faith like twinkies. News flash. Benefit of the doubt actually happens quite frequently. If you had your skull opened up like a ripe cantaloupe by an IED and were applying for bent brain with that brand new Rand McNally Road Atlas on your noggin, the vA examiner might look in your C-file. He’d note the Purple Heart and allow as it was “at least as likely as not that what the Vet claimed actually happened. He/she would go on to say that giving the Vet the benefit of the doubt and resolving all doubt in his favor, it was at least as likely as not that his new ‘do was service connected.
Here, we have evidence that the vA examiner could not possibly have lifted a finger to look at the SMRs. Mind you, not somebody else’s by accident but no contemporaneous records at all. Zip. Hell, this one didn’t even see the benefit of the light of day down in Whacko. Their M-21 Ouija® device must need a new set of points and an oil change.
Once VA provides an examination in a service connection claim, the examination must be adequate or VA must notify the veteran why one will not or cannot be provided. Barr v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 303 (2007). While the appellant was afforded a VA medical examination in September 2007, and while the examiner stated that he had reviewed the claims file, the examiner made declarations that do not gibe with the medical evidence of record; casting doubt that a thorough record review was accomplished. See Shipwash v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 218, 222 (1995); Flash v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 332, 339-340 (1995) (Regarding the duty of VA to provide medical examinations conducted by medical professionals with full access to and review of the veteran’s claims folder). For example, the examiner stated that the appellant had never had an elevated bilirubin and that his bilirubin was normal in service, yet the service medical records reflect elevated serum bilirubin results on at least three occasions. In addition, the examiner did not address all of the appellant’s risk factors for contracting viral hepatitis, namely his engagement in unprotected sex as reflected by his in-service treatment for venereal disease.
Say it ain’t so, Ronnie. Round up the usual suspects. Somebody arrest Bush. Both of them. And his wife, too. Look for hanging chads. This has Vast Right Wing Conspiracy written all over it. Maybe Bozo just had a brain fart while doing Johnny’s claim. Maybe he was having marital problems. Vets are sooooooo judgmental. There must be a logical explanation.
As usual, the good ol’ boys up at the DAV in DC somehow forgot to get this guy a nexus on his gastrointestinal issues as well. Shocked. I am just shocked. What more can I say? VSOs are our saviors and have all the know-how on this. That’s why we hire them. They’ve been doing it for over half a century or more. How can it be that Johnny Waco got all the way to Vermin Ave. NW without the magic paper? Why, this has never happened before. Someone should notify Attorney General Holder and have him look into this. Perhaps the OIG. Once is one time too many. We must nip this in the bud. The sky is falling.
Did I mention I was shocked?