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Cause Of Veterans Death


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#1 Lzjump

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 10:02 AM

Hi,
I have been reading the forums for a while and thought I would post a question concerning DIC.
My husband a Combat Wounded VietNam Vet, passed away in January 2004. When he passed away he was rated 90% Disabled and had a claim in for TDIU (which he had filed in March 2003).
In March 2004 I received the decision which denied his TDIU. I as the widow filed a new claim for the TDIU and Cause of Veterans Death in March 2004. Needless to say it was denied and I appealed it. I had a hearing before a BVA Judge in Washington DC in March 2008. In August 2008 I was awarded the TDIU claim with back pay to March 2003. and the Cause of Veterans death was remanded to search for the hospital records and a IMO. My husband had filed a claim in 1997 for Hepatits C. It was denied BUT....they had tried 3 times to obtain his inservice hospital records from where he had been shot & was hospitalized for 6 weeks in Nam but could not locate them. My representative at the hearing claimed CUE and gave them several other places to search for the records. I also included buddy statements from the medic who served with him. Now my claim is at the Post Determination Team waiting on a decision in Huntington WV. I have contacted my representative and he says maybe 4 to 6 weeks more of waiting. I do know that they could not locate the Hospital records, they have tried 6 times from my original RO and Huntington. I have submitted all types of medical records from his Doctor and the Transplant Team where he had his liver transplant. He was SC for DMII, Neropathy, Gunshot wound & PTSD.I was just wondering what it means that my claim is in Post Determination waiting on a decision.. Thanks for any help

#2 Berta

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 01:03 PM

I too am an Agent Orange widow.14 years after my husband died the VA recently directly service connected his death.

I sure don't think you will wait that long-actually I didnt either ---long story-

what was the actual cause of death and all contributing factors that were listed on death certificate and autopsy (if one was performed)?

#3 Lzjump

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:16 PM

Hi Berta,
Nice to meet you! Thank you for replying
Death Certificate listed, Multisystem Organ Failure, Sepsis, Hep C liver failure, post liver transplant. and no autopsy was done.
He was on a breathing machine for all of his final days and his red blood cell count was the lowest they had seen at the hospital. the doctors asked me if they could do a bone marrow biopsy. I hesitantly agreed as I know how painful they are but we had to find out what was going on. The Day he passed the bone marrow biopsy reports came back positive for Leukemia. Long story short. the Dr. who signed the death certificate was a new Dr. on the Transplant team and had not seen Mike prior to him being admitted to ICU. (which I told the BVA Judge) He had so many doctors!!
I did get Letters from the Head Dr. of the Transplant team as well as two other doctors, all of whom treated him before and after the Transplant and lots of medical evidence. Anyway today I went back and looked at the denial for the Hep C. and they stated they had medical evidence from 1969 to 1971. But that was not true, as they could not find the hospital records from Nam and still can't so, I guess that is where the CUE comes in. (not sure) only met my representative the day I went to DC for my BVA hearing. Long story short. I called the 800# today and guy told me that it had been rated and was at Post Determination. Do you know if they would send me a SSOC. before it went to post determination, or is that where they generate a SSOC from. Also, first he said they had to send it to authorization, then he corrected himself and said if it is an award they would have to get it signed off. (maybe he is seeing something that he cannot tell me about, not sure trying to read into this!!!) and I would receive a Notification Letter after a decision is made. He tried to see if a Notification Letter had been sent but system was down. My thinking!! Ha Ha.. is that if it has been rated then they have made a decision. BVA instructions indicate that if a decision to grant cannot be made then to send the claim back to BVA. (Sorry hard to put into words hope what I'am asking makes sense) Mike fought so hard and so long with this illness and the VA I hope I win. this fight is for HIM!! anyway any thoughts on this!!! Thanks

#4 Berta

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 05:35 AM

It is always hard to interpret what the VA is doing-

I assume the decision has been posted by now at the BVA web site-do you have Docket number and citation number?

BVA decisions are public record (no names etc) so maybe we could see more in the decision if they send a SSOC-

I certainly would think his SC for DMII would have contributed to the Hep C-because DMII can alter the immune system but I am not a doc-

has this point (the DMII) been raised in the claim as one more way to gain direct SC death?

Also- does this involve Hep C directly due to the treatment for the GSW?

I assume he had transfusions that are most likely etiology of the Hepatitus?

When BVA remanded for an IMO- were you able to obtain one as well?

If the VA tries to deny again without the missing records, then an IMO doctor you hire- could have valid opinion
based on the remaining records that VA doesn't have.

Still - it might be that the VA is preparing a favorable decision-and not a SSOC ---- hard to say

"I have submitted all types of medical records from his Doctor and the Transplant Team where he had his liver transplant."

Did any of thse doctors opine at all as to the etiology of his hepatitus or opine in any way that his SC DMII impacted on this and contributed to the Hep C disability and/or his death?

#5 Berta

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:15 AM

"The Day he passed the bone marrow biopsy reports came back positive for Leukemia"

Was this Chronic Leucocyte leukemia?

CLL is an AO presumptive cancer -then again it isnt on the death certificate-as contributing to death-

but this is:
"Multisystem Organ Failure"

That would obviously include his cardiac system.

What disabilities was the TDIU award based on and did the VA ever document that he had heart disease of atherosclerotic nature that could be directly due to the DMII?

I hope that you are going to get an award letter- but I am also anticipating worse case scenario.


Men and women here-I cannot stress here enough that autopsys should be done on any deceased veteran.Without an autopsy done by the Donor bank-in my case- I would never have proven wrongful death in 1997 and then recently received direct SC death award due to Agent Orange.

I didnt really see the significance of the autopsy when the Organ Donor place called.But the 6 page autopsy ended up as my prime evidence for my claims.

I dont know if the VA does autopsys and it is often something a survivor might have to bring up themselves.

There are often circumstances that put the idea of an autopsy -at time of death-on the back burner -because death brings so many other concerns and such grief that it is not really on ones mind- as a survivor.So much happens at once that if a doctor doesnt suggest an autopsy right away-it never gets done unless the surviving spouse asks one to be performed (or the vet is an organ donor)

#6 john999

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 10:51 AM

Vets should get a heath care POA and name a health care surrocate. Everyone should have a POA and a Will. Health Care POA is very important because that person can determine health care decisions in disputed situtations. It can happen where somebody besides the spouse or child decides they want to horn in on health care decisions including getting an autopsy. The State can even get involved in your health care decisions if you don't have a Surrogate and paperwork to make your last wishes known. For example, there is a spouse and step children. There may be a legal dispute about treatment, DNR's, and every conceivable thing to do with a person's last hours. If it is not stated in writing you may end up in court. Some hospitals will attempt to ignore even written instructions about DNR's and life and death decisions.

#7 Lzjump

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 03:46 PM

Yes, Hep C connected with GSW~Blood transfusion~In the VA Deinal back in 2003 they stated that "Although there is evidence that you suffered an injury to your left upper extremity, there was no evidence of the need for blood transfusions". However they tried 3 times to get the in hospital service records and could not obtain them. So not sure what they were basing this statement on. Mike had stated that he did receive a blood transfusion.
My representative stated that Mike was hospitalized for 6 weeks and had to have skingraphs which he is service connected for.

The Medic who served with Mike wrote a signed statement stating that. yes he had served with Mike and gave the action reports on the day Mike was shot, he also indicated that they all shared razors & toothbrushes, that he had treated Mike for Jungle Rot, He had treated several other guys including Mike for Hepatitis and all had become quite ill, he believes they got it from the Coke Girls. It was a 3 page letter and he is an Attorney so it was written well with all the pertinent information about himself as well as his service with Mike.

Yes DMII is linked thruout the case ~ Insulin dependent, and had to take injections 2x per day, this was also linked to his immune system not being able to fight infection among other things and I have doctor statements linking DMII to his immune system and other problems but not to the Hep C.

Severe Anemia, Thrombolycist, myelodysplasia, edema, cellulitis, neuropathy, chronic renal insufficiency, soft tissue sarcoma. are other medical problems related to my case..

No I did not obtain a IMO, honestly I did not know that I could or should have.

If they deny my claim would I then be able to obtain a IMO or would it be too late?

Hope I spelled everything correctly new to this and cannot find the spellcheck.

#8 Lzjump

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 03:46 PM

Yes, Hep C connected with GSW~Blood transfusion~In the VA Deinal back in 2003 they stated that "Although there is evidence that you suffered an injury to your left upper extremity, there was no evidence of the need for blood transfusions". However they tried 3 times to get the in hospital service records and could not obtain them. So not sure what they were basing this statement on. Mike had stated that he did receive a blood transfusion.
My representative stated that Mike was hospitalized for 6 weeks and had to have skingraphs which he is service connected for.

The Medic who served with Mike wrote a signed statement stating that. yes he had served with Mike and gave the action reports on the day Mike was shot, he also indicated that they all shared razors & toothbrushes, that he had treated Mike for Jungle Rot, He had treated several other guys including Mike for Hepatitis and all had become quite ill, he believes they got it from the Coke Girls. It was a 3 page letter and he is an Attorney so it was written well with all the pertinent information about himself as well as his service with Mike.

Yes DMII is linked thruout the case ~ Insulin dependent, and had to take injections 2x per day, this was also linked to his immune system not being able to fight infection among other things and I have doctor statements linking DMII to his immune system and other problems but not to the Hep C.

Severe Anemia, Thrombolycist, myelodysplasia, edema, cellulitis, neuropathy, chronic renal insufficiency, soft tissue sarcoma. are other medical problems related to my case..

No I did not obtain a IMO, honestly I did not know that I could or should have.

If they deny my claim would I then be able to obtain a IMO or would it be too late?

Hope I spelled everything correctly new to this and cannot find the spellcheck.

#9 deltaj

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 05:00 AM

"The Day he passed the bone marrow biopsy reports came back positive for Leukemia"

Was this Chronic Leucocyte leukemia?

CLL is an AO presumptive cancer -then again it isnt on the death certificate-as contributing to death-

but this is:
"Multisystem Organ Failure"

That would obviously include his cardiac system.

What disabilities was the TDIU award based on and did the VA ever document that he had heart disease of atherosclerotic nature that could be directly due to the DMII?

I hope that you are going to get an award letter- but I am also anticipating worse case scenario.


Men and women here-I cannot stress here enough that autopsys should be done on any deceased veteran.Without an autopsy done by the Donor bank-in my case- I would never have proven wrongful death in 1997 and then recently received direct SC death award due to Agent Orange.

I didnt really see the significance of the autopsy when the Organ Donor place called.But the 6 page autopsy ended up as my prime evidence for my claims.

I dont know if the VA does autopsys and it is often something a survivor might have to bring up themselves.

There are often circumstances that put the idea of an autopsy -at time of death-on the back burner -because death brings so many other concerns and such grief that it is not really on ones mind- as a survivor.So much happens at once that if a doctor doesnt suggest an autopsy right away-it never gets done unless the surviving spouse asks one to be performed (or the vet is an organ donor)

Have you filed a claim for Death and Indemnity Compensation yet? I suggest you get the medical records showing the veteran was diagnosed with leukemia on the day he died. Medical records like this are sometimes lost, particularly if they are with V.A. Chronic Lympocytic Leukemia is presumptive for Vietnam veterans under 38 CFR 3.309 (e). Type 2 diabetes (also known as Diabetes Mellitus or adult onset diabetes) is also presumptive for Vietnam veterans under 38 CFR 3.309 (e). (Notice that the word Agent Orange is not used in this regulation found in Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations; instead V.A. uses the term herbicide for Agent Orange.) Type 2 diabetes can cause multiple organ failure. I think chronic lympocytic leukemia can cause multiple organ failure. Since your husband was a Vietnam veteran, was he service connected for type 2 diabetes? Can you get his doctors to amend his death certificate to include diabetes and/or chronic lympocytic leukemia as a cause of death? If not, you could get a letter from one of his treating doctors stating the diabetes and or chronic lymptocytic leukemia more likely than not caused or contributed to his multiple organ failure which was one of his causes of death. That letter could be sent to V.A. as new and material evidence in support of a pending claim for DIC. [See 38 CFR 3.156 and 38 CFR 3.400 (q)]. I realize I'm not wording this well, but I suggest you go see a national service officer from DAV and get some help on your claim. If you do this, you will need to appoint DAV as your appointed power of attorney to help with your claim and appeal. Another option is to use some medical treatise evidence supporting the fact that diabetes or leukemia causes organ failure and that organ failure causes death. I suggest you search on google under medical treatise AND veteran. Linking these 2 terms in a search on the internet will take you to several cases on how medical treastise information can be used. Because this case is complicated, I suggest you get some help from a DAV national service officer.

Edited by deltaj, 05 October 2009 - 05:21 AM.