Vietnam Vet with many health issues


I am a Marine Corps grunt Vietnam Veteran with a purple heart for wounds received during the Tet Offensive in Hue City Feb 1968. I filed a claim with the VA in 2012 and was awarded 70% for TBI, 10% for Tinnitus, 0% for hearing loss and 0% for headaches. All, of course, ruled service connected.  As I'm sure is the case with many Vietnam infantry and others, I experienced some horrific combat situations. During my C&P evaluation in 2012 I mentioned to the evaluating provider several combat experiences and I was immediately in tears, barely able to speak. Of course, she never mentioned anything to me about PTSD and when my rating came back it was for the TBI and residuals mentioned above. I continued to have nightmares, social interactions problems, anger issues, panic attacks, etc. In 2014, I had a heart attack, had two stents. I also have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and am currently on oral diabetes medication. I had severe hypertension leading up to my heart attack and am now on 4 different blood pressure and heart failure medications. Within just the last month, I just became aware of the Agent Orange presumptive diagnoses including the two I have mentioned above. When I went to my VA doctor last month to evaluate my ongoing nightmares, anger, social probl ems, etc. she said you have delayed onset severe PTSD and told me I should apply for new claims for PTSD , Ischemic Heart Disease, hypertension and diabetes. She also told me since my headaches have now become more severe and frequent and that my hearing loss is much more severe that I should apply for increases to those two 0% residuals of the TBI rating in 2012. I filed the current pending claim on 07/13/19. I have submitted numerous documents both medical and military. I had my C&P psych and medical evaluations last week. During my medical C&P evaluation I told the provider about my headaches and she said she wasn't only authorized to assess my heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. She said I could mention the headaches to the psychologist evaluator, which I did. I did submit a supplemental statement online for my c-file stating that my request for increase of the TBI rating was not for the 70% rating but for the 0% ratings for headache and hearing loss.

I have two questions. 1) How do I get my recent C&P exams for both the psych and medical evaluations done last week to have them reviewed by Veteran Psych Evaluations (I'm working with them here in Colorado). They said they would evaluate the C&P evaluations to determine if they were done right and favorably for my case. 2) Do you think the Regional Office will set up another C&P to evaluate the headache and hearing loss increase requests or should I get DBQs to submit for these two conditions to trigger them to do it? BTW after my discharge from the Marine Corps I went to college and the Physician Assistant Program at the USC School of Medicine and I have been practicing emergency medicine as a PA for 42 years. (only part time now) My current PTSD symptoms and side effects from numerous medications is making it harder and harder for me to work even part time. Thanks for what you do for Veterans and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jim's Reply:

You'll understand when I tell you that you're asking many hypotheticals that I can't begin to answer. I'm always at a loss when I'm asked to predict what VA may or may not do since VA is entirely unpredictable. The best response I can muster up is to be patient and understand that the VA is badly broken and that means you can anticipate many bumps ahead. What I think VA may do isn't relevant, being prepared for all possibilities to include appeals with an attorney representative is a must. Good luck!