MS Misdiagnosed in the National Guard


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I just got back for a deployment to Afghanistan with the National Guard. I was medically cleared through the demob process to go home and restart my civilian life. After a couple months of being stateside, I started having vision problems so I went to the doctor. Turns out I have MS. Now I'm looking at going back on title 10 (active duty) orders and going up to Ft. Lewis to see the Med Board. I had an MRI for blurry vision and dizziness while I was going through the demob process (still on title 10) from my deployment to Afghanistan. The doctors said that nothing was out of the ordinary and wrote off my episode as benign positional vertigo. Turns out they were wrong. I took the exact same MRI films they gave me from that original diagnosis and showed them to my civilian neurologist who diagnosed me with MS. He said that the films show positive for MS. So basically, I was misdiagnosed while on title 10 orders.

They now want to put me back on title 10 orders and send me to Ft. Lewis WA in a WTU for an indefinite amount of time. I live in the Silicon Valley and I am the owner/founder of a start-up company that needs me to be here every step of the way. If I am forced to leave, I fear my business will most certainly die. This would obviously be absolutely devastating. I have excellent civilian health care right now and I have one of the biggest/nicest VA hospitals right down the road form my house in Palo Alto, CA. I am told that I will be getting medically discharged from the National Guard.

I was wondering how long this process might take? I am only 27 and I'm trying to look out for my long-term interest. I also don't want to give up another year of my 20s to the Army due to being stuck in a WTU. Especially since I feel like the Army made a mistake in letting me go home and start my life only to have leave it and go through yet another Army process. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't own my own business, but now this hardship seems almost unbearable.

Does anyone know exactly what a Med Retirement from the National Guard entails? Is the retirement full base pay? I talked to my VSO and he informed me that MS is an automatic 100% disability rating through the VA. I would also like to know if there is any way for me to go through a Med Board Evaluation while on CBWTU (from home), or if there are any other avenues I can take?


Jason Perry

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Your VSO is wrong; maybe he mis-communicated or is confused. Here is the VA rating criteria for MS:

"8018 Multiple sclerosis:

Minimum rating........................................................................................................ 30"

In addition, here is the preface to the above rating:

"§4.124a Schedule of ratings—neurological conditions and convulsive disorders.

With the exceptions noted, disability from the following diseases and their residuals may be rated from 10 percent to 100 percent in proportion to the impairment of motor, sensory, or mental function. Consider especially psychotic manifestations, complete or partial loss of use of one or more extremities, speech disturbances, impairment of vision, disturbances of gait, tremors, visceral manifestations, etc., referring to the appropriate bodily system of the schedule. With partial loss of use of one or more extremities from neurological lesions, rate by comparison with the mild, moderate, severe, or complete paralysis of peripheral nerves]."

If you don't have a LOD showing your MS was incurred (or aggravated) in the line of duty, you are most likely best off going on active duty (that will ensure you have more than 30 days of active duty order, guaranteeing compensability for your MS). Otherwise, you may face problems establishing your entitlement to compensation.

You have to weigh the relative value of your benefits against the impact on your business and the opportunities you have. That said, military retirement is a valuable benefit.
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