Link to original post
Here’s a nightmare of a claim. The Vet had no STRs in his NPRS file except for his dental records. He admitted snorting the white lady in the late 1980s to a VA nurse in 2015. She immediately wrote down “HCV due to bloody shared cocaine straw.” That pretty much put a fork in any potential claim.
He approached the VFW about filing his jetgun claim in 2016. They laughed him right out the door. No attorney or agent would even talk to him the moment he mentioned the toot. And then he called me.
Regardless of what you’ve heard about me, I refuse to arbitrarily deny representation to a fellow Vietnam or Thailand Vet when it comes to Hep C. I was there. I contracted it, too. It almost killed me by 2006. I told him to go ahead and file knowing full well he’d get denied. We obtained an IMO from one of my doctors for free due to his being indigent. It sank like a rock. We filed the NOD and got another “No”. After filing the VA 9, we obtained an IMO from a good hepatologist but that was not going to be the winning ticket. I asked for a Travel Board hearing in Oakland so I could present my Vet and his lay testimony in person.
We had the hearing March 28th, 2019 at the Oakland Puzzle Palace. The Judge, Matthew Blackwelder, wasn’t very receptive to a grant until he read the IMO while we were sitting there in front of him. He mused and said it was indeed an interesting case.
The funny thing about jetgun cases is you could never win them at the local Fort Fumble under the old Legacy system. They’d refuse to grant even if you had a buddy letter from Jesus Christ himself. This one was really no different. We had nothing but lay testimony and some dental records that didn’t say much about using gloves which was really nothing useful. Worse, he’d had an STD which wasn’t in the STRs because they were AWOL. When all you have is lemons, make lemonade.
But…an STD like Gonorrhea leaves antibodies forever. I suggested we hold the record open for 90 days to obtain a blood test showing the presence of same. The Judge said “No need to. I have enough here to make a decision.” I was worried. I took that to mean we had a better chance of winning the Powerball Lotto. I was positive I was going to be arguing this one at the CAVC. We won Wednesday.
Of all my wins, this is by far the best. It’s the only one I’ve ever won solely on the strength of the Veteran’s lay testimony . Don’t get me wrong. The IMO was very instrumental in the win but I doubt we would have prevailed without a face-to-face hearing. A picture may be worth a thousand words but a Travel Board hearing is worth a thousand pictures.
Steve BVA Win redacted.pdf
Read the full thread below
Here's a nightmare of a claim. The Vet had no STRs in his NPRS file except for his eye records. He admitted snorting the white lady in the late 1980s to a VA nurse in 2015. She immediately wrote down "HCV due to bloody shared dollar bill(s)."