Citation Nr: 18154165
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 16-34 126
DATE:	November 29, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection a right foot disability, to include as secondary to service-connected disabilities is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for a left foot disability, to include as secondary to service-connected disabilities is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from April 1990 to November 2002.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) from a December 2014 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Manila, Philippines.  
The Veteran testified before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge in April 2018.  A transcript of the hearing has been associated with the record.
 
Entitlement to service connection for a bilateral foot disability is remanded.
The Board finds that additional development is required for the claim for service connection for a bilateral foot disability.  While the Board regrets further delay, it is necessary to ensure that there is a complete record upon which to decide the claims.
The Veteran has not been provided a VA examination which addresses the claim for service connection for bilateral foot disabilities.  The Board finds that considering November 2015 opinion from the Veteran’s doctor, an examination is needed.  VA’s statutory duty to assist the Veteran includes the duty to conduct a thorough examination so that the evaluation of the claimed disability will be a fully informed one.  Green v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 121 (1991); Snuffer v. Gober, 10 Vet. App. 400 (1997).  Assistance by VA includes providing a medical examination or obtaining a medical opinion when an examination or opinion is necessary to make a decision on a claim.  38 U.S.C. § 5103A(d); 38 C.F.R. § 3.159(c)(4); McLendon v. Nicholson, 20 Vet. App. 79 (2006).  When the medical evidence is inadequate, VA must supplement the record by seeking an advisory opinion or ordering another medical examination.  Colvin v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 171 (1991); Hatlestad v. Derwinski, 3 Vet. App. 213 (1992).  Therefore, the Board must remand the claim to obtain a VA examination that bilateral foot disabilities.
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. After obtaining any necessary releases, obtain all outstanding VA and private medical records not yet associated with the record. 
2. Then, schedule the Veteran for VA examination to determine the nature and etiology of any bilateral foot disabilities.  The examiner must review the claim file and should note that review in the report.  The examiner should obtain a complete history from the Veteran.  Any tests and studies deemed necessary by the examiner, should be conducted.  All findings should be reported in detail.  The examiner must address the November 2015 opinion by Dr. F.B.A.  Any opinion expressed should be accompanied by a complete rationale.  As to any bilateral foot disability identified on examination, the VA examiner should express an opinion regarding the following: 
(a.) Is it at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that any bilateral foot disability had its onset in service, was aggravated by service, or is otherwise related to any incident of service. 
(b.) Is it at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that any bilateral foot disability is proximately due to any service-connected disabilities, to specifically include bilateral ankle, cervical spine, lumbar spine, bilateral knee disabilities, and bilateral knee radiculopathy.
(c.) Is it at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that any bilateral foot disability has been aggravated (permanently worsened beyond the natural progress of the disorder) by any service-connected disabilities, to specifically include the bilateral ankle, cervical spine, lumbar spine, bilateral knee disabilities, and bilateral knee radiculopathy.
 
Harvey P. Roberts
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	C. Kass, Associate Counsel

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