Citation Nr: 18160584
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 10-24 641
DATE:	December 27, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for sinusitis is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served honorably on active duty with the United States Air Force from October 1971 to October 1975.
In July 2018, the Veteran testified at a videoconference hearing before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.  A copy of the transcript has been associated with the claims file.
The Board notes that the Veteran currently has two separate cases pending appellate adjudication.  As the Veteran testified concerning the issues of an increased rating for the left knee and service connection for headaches at both his July 2018 Board hearing, as well as at hearings held in August and September 2011, the Board will adjudicate those issues in a separate decision by a panel of Veterans Law Judges.
Entitlement to service connection for sinusitis is remanded.
Although the Board regrets the delay, remand is necessary to ensure there is a complete record on which to decide the Veteran’s claim.
The Veteran asserts he has a sinus condition that is etiologically related to an in-service incident in which he injured himself after dropping a barbell on his face.  During his July 2018 hearing, the Veteran described the incident and testified that he has had sinus problems ever since.  He also testified that he first sought treatment from VA in 1976, shortly after discharge from active service, and that he has been treated for sinusitis ever since.
VA treatment records show the Veteran has been diagnosed with sinusitis during the period on appeal.  Further, the Veteran’s service treatment records (STRs) confirm that the Veteran injured his left eye and nasal bridge after being struck by a barbell in the gym in October 1973.  STRs also show the Veteran sought treatment for a “bad cold” in January 1974.  Unfortunately, VA treatment records for the period following the Veteran’s discharge from active service do not appear to have been associated with the claims file.  Further, the Veteran has not been afforded a VA examination in connection with his claim.  Given the evidence of a current disability and an in-service incurrence, the Board finds that remand for a VA examination is warranted.
Accordingly, the matter is REMANDED for the following actions:
1. Obtain and associate with the claims file any outstanding VA treatment records, including any records of treatment at the Little Rock VA Medical Center dating back to 1976.  All efforts to obtain additional evidence must be documented in the claims folder.  
2. Then, schedule the Veteran for a VA examination to determine the nature and etiology of the Veteran’s currently diagnosed sinusitis.  The electronic claims file should be provided to the examiner for review, and the examiner should note that it has been reviewed.  After reviewing the file, eliciting a history directly from the Veteran, and conducting a thorough examination, as well as any diagnostic studies deemed necessary, the examiner should offer an opinion as to whether it is at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that any diagnosed sinusitis was incurred in or is otherwise related to service, to include the injury the Veteran sustained after dropping a barbell on his face in 1973.
The term “at least as likely as not” does not mean “within the realm of medical possibility.”  Rather, it means that the weight of medical evidence both for and against a conclusion is so evenly divided that it is as medically sound to find in favor of that conclusion as it is to find against it.  
The examiner should provide a complete explanation for any opinion provided, and consider the Veteran’s lay statements. 
3. Then, readjudicate the Veteran’s claim.  If the claim remains denied, furnish the Veteran and his representative a supplemental statement of the case and return the claim to the Board for further adjudication.
 
L. CHU
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	G. T. Raftery, Associate Counsel

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

For More Information on Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits! Visit: DisableVeteran.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency


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