BVA1455333: Present Disability (PTSD)

 In Reasoning - Present Disability

Citation Nr: 1455333 Decision Date: 12/16/14 Archive Date: 12/24/14 DOCKET NO. 12-14 433


The Veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD medically linked to an established in-service stressor related to engaging in combat with the enemy.


The criteria for service connection for PTSD have been met. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1154, 5107 (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303, 3.304, 4.125 (2014).


The Veteran’s claim is based, in part, on his contention that his PTSD resulted from his combat experiences while serving in the Republic of Vietnam. For the following reasons, the Board finds that service connection for PTSD is established. …

In this matter, all three elements to establish service connection have been satisfied. First, as previously stated, a February 2010 letter from a VA physician and a February 2010 VA treatment record together reflect that the Veteran has been diagnosed with PTSD in accordance with the DSM-IV. This diagnosis is confirmed throughout the Veteran’s VA treatment records, including in VA treatment records dated October 2010, December 2010, April 2011, July 2011, October 2011, November 2011, January 2012, March 2012, May 2012, July 2012, August 2012, October 2012, December 2012, March 2013, and July 2013. Thus, the Board finds that the Veteran’s VA treatment records constitute probative evidence of a diagnosis of PTSD in accordance with the DSM-IV. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f).

The Board notes that VA examination reports authored by the same clinician in February 2009 and April 2010 reflect the examiner’s finding that, although the Veteran reported some symptoms consistent with a PTSD diagnosis, he did not report sufficient symptoms to meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. However, after weighing the probative value of the VA treatment records and the VA examination reports, the Board finds that the VA examination reports do not outweigh the VA treatment records on the issue of the Veteran’s diagnosis of PTSD. Essentially, the VA examination reports’ findings seem to differ from the VA treatment records’ findings with regard to how the Veteran’s reported symptoms were evaluated or interpreted. In this respect, the VA examiner stated that there was a difference in how the Veteran’s avoidance of others while he was shopping was categorized as a symptom. Consequently, the Board finds that the evidence is in relative equipoise on this issue, and resolves reasonable doubt in the Veteran’s favor. See 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107; 38 C.F.R. § 3.102; Gilbert, 1 Vet. App. at 55.

Hofstra University’s project on Reasoning Structures in Legal Texts provides further analysis of the reasoning in this excerpt.
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