Citation Nr: 18132292
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 16-05 656
DATE:	September 6, 2018
Entitlement to service connection for a cervical spine disability is remanded.
The Veteran served on active duty from January 1976 to January 1979.
Entitlement to service connection for a cervical spine disability is remanded.
The Veteran has argued that his STRs and VA treatment records have not been adequately reviewed.  His STRs appear to be complete, but the Board notes that only a few VA treatment records have been associated with the file.  On remand, a complete record of VA treatment shall be associated with the claims file.
The February 2012 VA examiner opined against a relationship between the Veteran’s neck disability and his service, citing to two in-service records, and a lack of documentation within the five years after service showing chronic neck symptoms.  This opinion does not take into consideration the Veteran’s statements, or his supporting “Buddy” statement, that the Veteran demonstrated symptoms in his neck following service and consistently since separation.  On remand, another examination shall be conducted.

The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Make arrangements to obtain a complete copy of VA treatment from the Columbus VAMC.
2. After receipt of records requested in directive #1, schedule the Veteran for an appropriate examination for an opinion on whether it is as likely as not (50/50 probability or better) that any current neck diagnosis is related to his service.  The examiner is asked to review the file and to conduct a complete examination.
The Veteran was involved im a motor vehicle accident in September 1977.  He was treated for whiplash.  In October 1977, it was improving, but the Veteran slipped on the ice and exacerbated the improving symptoms.  In November 1977, it was noted that two months after the cervical strain, he was still wearing the soft collar and he showed some neurological symptoms (decreased pinprick).  There was some concern that his symptoms were somatic in nature, but the record does not show he was ever diagnosed with a psychiatric disability.  On November 30, 1977, he was diagnosed with chronic cervical strain.
He reports that he has had symptoms since his service.  In support, his brother wrote a letter describing the Veteran’s complaints upon his return from service.  Currently, the record does not contain medical treatment records from the late-1970’s or early-1980’s.  This is not dispositive of the claim.  Rather, the examiner is asked to elicit from the Veteran a full history of his symptoms in and since service, and refer to that when forming the opinion.
All opinions are to be supported with explanation.
Nathaniel J. Doan
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals

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