August 20th, 2018
In August of 2017, Jet Infectors brought several discrepancies to members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for review. The Committee felt our inquiry deserved a response from VA. By October, a top official within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) responded but failed to appropriately address our questions. The letter did, however, uphold that top officials within the VBA recognize jet injectors as a possible risk factor for acquiring the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
“…despite the lack of any scientific evidence to document transmission of HCV with air gun injectors, VA acknowledges this as a possible risk factor for developing HCV,” stated Laurine Carson, the Acting Deputy Director for VBA’s Compensation Service.
Mrs. Carson went on to state,
“…a medical report linking HCV to air gun injectors must include a full discussion of all potential modes of transmission for an individual Veteran and a rational as to why the examiner believes the air gun injector was the source of the Veteran’s hepatitis infection. VA examiners review all evidence of record to include medical evidence and lay statements to provide an opinion regarding a nexus between the disability and an event, injury or disease incurred during active duty service.”
“Rating decisions which determine service connection are then made by weighing all evidence of record based on the Veteran’s specific circumstances. Since each decision is made on a case-by-case basis, there are differences in outcomes in decisions made by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).”
So why is this important?
The Carson letter, along with VBA’s Adjudication Procedure Manual (M21-1), demonstrates top officials within VBA are consistently recognizing jet injectors as a risk factor for Hepatitis C. Nowhere within Mrs. Carson’s response, nor within M21-1, is the jet injector nexus questioned or doubted. Therefore, the plausibility of jet injector transmission cannot be discredited by VA staff.
When reviewing a claimant’s case, VA staff must acknowledge transmission via jet injectors as a possible mode of transmission, must accept a veteran’s contention that he or she was vaccinated via a jet injector, and then thereafter, the evidence of the case can be weighed and a determination on the claim made. A determination can only be made based upon the evidence on record. Any VA staff claiming the veteran’s Hepatitis C is likely the result of an unidentified risk factor are failing to appropriately weigh the evidence presented within the claim. Such fallacious statements should not be given any merit. If such fallacious statements are given evidentiary weight then the claimant should appeal.
PDF copy here.