I am a Veteran, and served our Country with pride as a United States Marine for the period of 1961 -1966. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, 50% disability. I also have heart conditions of Congestive Heart Failure, Atrial Fibrillation, Sinus Badycardia (Pacemaker Implant), Hypertension, severe LVH, and Hyperlipidemia. High Risk Stroke, irregular heart beat. Parkisonism like symptoms.
I submitted a claim for Hypertension & Heart condition secondary to PTSD. July 2003. The process has been long, and unnecessary.
When the VA does a C&P exam the results are sent to the regional office for their processing. The Doctorís opinion carries a lot of weight. However, Doctors do NOT know with absolute certainty the cause of medical condition they must offer an opinion based on the patientís medical history, and treatment records. So Doctors offer their opinion in the form of terms such as: Likely, not likely, certainly, almost certainly, and terms that suggest the probability, not certainty.
The argument as to the connection of PTSD and heart related illness is one that is continued research. In other words a Veteranís claim it is better argued between attorneys skilled in understanding law than argued by a Veteran, like myself, who is only acquainted with a laymanís view. I file my claim and follow it to the point it is necessary to recruit help.
This is the place I find myself, not the point to quit after 9 years, but the point to recruit help. My legal representation is handled by a firm knowledgeable in the process, and knows how to deal with attorneys in the language they understand. My appeal is now being handled by the Law Firm:: Bergmann Moore, llc. They won, for me, a remand and then it was back on me to present new evidence. With they help of those listed below was not enough to be accepted. Like other appeals I found a new Doctor with strong credentials. He presented good evidence however as before the Judge reached out to another Dr to refute the one I used. This time it was different he use a letter from a Professor of a University that refuted my Doctor. Interesting the Professor refuted the previous "VA" Dr rather than refuting mine. Offering again another appeal this time the Doctor examed me pointed to the 15 pieces of litature that he had offered supporting his findings. None had been challenged by his Professor who was also a MD at a VA Clinic. Nothing wrong with that I guess. These delays had mounted up to over 12 years, and my condition had progressed even more.
Why did I fight it so hard and long?
Smiple. My condition had it been detected early before or shortly after my discharge would not have been as serious as it is.. If I was treated the way I was treated after offering the best of the best of medical opinions then they would do the same with other Veterans. I felt compelled to help
straighten out the mess. Because my conditions are serious and after much help I realize how they developed. My life has been shortened by many years, and the quality of my health is not so good.
I have all these years found facts that are very sad for our Veterans, forget about me, think of all the young one returning home now. Untreated PTSD is a hellish demon that needs to be attacked early and then our young Veterans can live a long and healthy life. The VA concelled the stress of PTSD, and the secondary conditions caused to our Vietnam Veterans because it would be to expensive to treat. Now we have a President and Secretary willing to support those who have supported the freedoms that our Flag stands for.
If you have not received Legal advice let me recommend that you contact "Bergmann Moore,llc" for a FREE consultation. Click Here for their contact form or phone number. I suggest filling out their brief form so they can be prepared for your call. It is up to you, but they are there to help.
Bergmann Moore has my confidence in their ability to March On with my case in a manner I want to be Represented. It is down to the final few years before the decision is made, good or bad, I feel my condition has been presented in a professional manner to the Country I swore an Oath to defend.
Lastly if you have PTSD to do worry because with proper medical care you can learn to cope with your condition. For many of us the treatment has come to late to reverse the damage done from 40 plus years of untreated PTSD and the stress that accompanies the condition. Coping (not cure) is the answer, and I am hopeful our newer Veterans returning to home will be screened early.
Good Luck to All, and Salute.. Semper Fi