I have often tried to point out that it takes a number of years for hepatitis to manifest to a degree that the individual notices it. Men are notorious for going to the bitter end before keeling over and admitting something is amiss.
Here’s Joe Blow Vet from Oakland. First of all it’s a miracle he won while he’s still alive, but that’s not the point of this story. Everyone knows what kind of problems they’re having doing claims in Oakland. What is unique is that he arrived with a real nexus and had AmLeg repping him. Somebody has been doing their homework and it wasn’t the VSO unless I miss my guess. I apologize. I’m such a negative Ned when it comes to VSOs. We don’t know he had a lousy VSO. I just assumed that. I could be wrong. I was way off on that December 21 Mayan thing, too.
Check this out. The Vet gets a doctor from the transplant crew ( listen up, Leigh) to write an excellent nexus. Who better to do it? The gal (Dr. Torok) is probably a red hot surgeon in addition to being a gastrodoc from Hell. She knows the etiology of this beast and the four stages equaling 40 years. This puts it smack dab in the Vet’s time of service and cuts off that bogus Maxson v. Gober line of nonsense. Remember how I address this in my book. It’s valuable stuff to know. Here it pays off.
Not only did it pay off having a private nexus, the VA examiner was so cowed by the doctor’s credentials, she went hook, line, and sinker for her take on it. I had the same experience. The VA looked at my nexus and sent out for another one. QTC looked at the rationale for mine and agreed wholeheartedly with my doctor who was a prominent northwest hepatology specialist. Needless to say, I made my service medical records available to him for this.
In a November 2006 statement, Dr. Torok, an assistant professor of medicine in a liver transplant program, noted that from her assessment and her review of his medical history, she did not find any risk factors that would have exposed him to the hepatitis C virus with the exception of the injections he received during basic training in 1966 from the use of jet air guns. That doctor indicated that these guns were used to immunize mass numbers of military personnel in succession with little or no regard to sterilization. That physician stated that she suspected that air-gun injections were the manner in which he contracted hepatitis C. Her basis for her suspicion was the fact that the date of the Veteran’s transplant, May 10, 2002, compared to the date of his enrollment in service, June 2, 1966, coincides with the 30 to 40 years it takes for end-stage liver disease to develop. Dr. Torok concluded by opining that the appellant acquired hepatitis C during active service.
Eighteen months later the VA examiner has an epiphany…
The May 2008 VA examiner opined that it was at least as likely as not that the Veteran’s contraction of hepatitis C occurred in service due to either air-gun injections or sharing of razors and toothbrushes and that it was less likely due to unprotected sexual activity in service with a minimum number of sexual partners prior to his marriage at a young age. The examiner indicated that based on the chronicity of the development of end-stage liver disease, i.e., 40 years, it was at least as likely as not that the appellant contracted hepatitis C during the time frame when he was on active duty. The examiner’s basis for her opinion was
various lay statements, including the Veteran’s, and the opinion of a liver expert. In particular, while the Veteran and his brother are not competent to report that he had hepatitis soon after service, they are competent to report that he was hospitalized for appearing to have jaundice.
Roseanne said “It’s always somethin’.” Boy, was she ever right.