FROM THE REDSKIN REGIONAL
OFFICE IN INDIANVILLE, INDIANA
In one of those convoluted rulings, the BVA Judge here is faced with some unalterable facts. Johnny Vet has four or five risk factors. VD, which is proof of licentious sexual behavior, is not willful misconduct. In addition, he claimed sharing razors or group shaving haircuts like basic, jet guns and probably every illicit drug known to man. The list of drugs involves some I’ve never heard of and I’m not exactly a stranger to this game. About the only thing he didn’t claim was a tattoo risk.
The various VA examiners, doctors and gastrodocs all agree he came down with it in the seventies-undoubtedly via the results of a liver biopsy showing a very advanced state of affairs. Nevertheless, the consensus puts it squarely in the seventies during his service. All those wild and crazy drugs he snorted, smoked or otherwise ingested through his pores from the intervening years are inadmissible in court because they really do not show inception-just poor intercurrent judgment. VA has a really, really hard time getting by that.
In a September 2002 letter, Dr. D.C. Pound found that the Veteran had chronic hepatitis C, which he most likely acquired in the late 1970s while in the military.
In fact, our smart fellow Veteran here wisely introduced all the wonderful new evidence that the CDC and DoD elected to do away with jetguns when they figured out we were all coming down with HCV, HBV, AIDS etc. That in itself was a smoking gun pointing back to the unsanitariness in the seventies.
The examiner found that sexual intercourse was considered less of a risk for infection with hepatitis C and noted a recommendation to discontinue the use of air gun injections for vaccinations by the military due to the transmission of hep C.
Faced with this obstacle, they had to choose which drug or risk was more liable to have caused the hep. How do you do that 43 years later? Well, shucks Pilgrim. VA does it all the time but now it’s getting harder with the internet and asknod. So, in order of risk, instead of trying to assign some percentage to each one and then add them up, they have to consider each one equally. It used to be for about a year in the early to mid 2000s that VA raters would say ” VD-1% risk; Tattoo- 5% risk; shared razors-.001%; jetguns- unproven but plausible; Intravenous drug use-85%. Therefore the first risks listed add up to 6.001%. The IVDU, however, which is willful misconduct incidentally, is far higher ergo the HCV is not due to a legitimate service risk in the line of duty.”
Here, the Veterans Law judge couldn’t even resort to the VA’s legendary weighted Wheel of Fortune that always lands on DENIED. He had four legitimate choices and three were medically recognized risks. Hence, Johnny Vet wins because of the benefit of the doubt says more risks were “legal” risks than non legal ones.
Remember this decision because, while it is not precedence, it exhibits a finding that jet gun use was discontinued due to unsanitary practices and the inherent inability to guarantee a “clean” inoculation. This is the first BVA decision to be used as evidence. While it may not have been the precipitating factor in the win, it is now a recognized facet of law that the jetguns are disease factories capable of transmitting all kinds of bugs. HCVets- 1, VA-0.