Citation Nr: 18160498
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 13-08 579
DATE:	December 27, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for a left wrist disability, including post-trauma arthritis, is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for a left little finger and hand disability, including post-trauma arthritis, is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from March 1965 to December 1968.
In an August 2016 Travel Board hearing, the Veteran testified before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.  In August 2018, the Veteran was notified that a transcript of the hearing is unavailable and he was given an opportunity to have another hearing.  The Veteran declined a second hearing. 
Service Connection for a Left Wrist Disability
The Veteran underwent an examination in November 2012.  However, the examiner did not address the Veteran’s complaints of pain and functional impairment.  Moreover, the Veteran was diagnosed as having mild degenerative changes in the left wrist in 2006 but the examiner did not address this. Accordingly, the Veteran should be afforded another opportunity to undergo an examination that fully considers his functional impairment and history of degenerative changes in the left wrist. See Romanowsky v. Shinseki, 26 Vet. App. 303, 310 (2013).
Service Connection for a Left Little Finger and Left Hand Disability
The November 2012 examiner also concluded that there was no disability of the Veteran’s left little finger and hand.  However, the examiner did not discuss the Veteran’s contentions regarding both pain and functional impairment.  On remand, the Agency of Original Jurisdiction should obtain an opinion that considers the Veteran’s contentions.
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain all VA treatment records for the Veteran dated from November 2012 to the present and associate them with the claims file.
2. After all outstanding VA records have been associated with the claims file, obtain a new VA examination that addresses the nature and etiology of the Veteran’s left wrist, left little finger and left hand disabilities.  Any indicated evaluations, studies, and tests deemed necessary by the examiner should be accomplished.  The entire claims file, to include a complete copy of this REMAND, should be made available to the examiner in conjunction with the examination.
The examiner should offer comments, an opinion and a supporting rationale that address the following:
(a) Identify any diagnoses that pertain to the Veteran’s left wrist, left little finger and left hand disabilities.  The examiner should address the Veteran’s 2006 diagnosis of left wrist degenerative changes as well as the Veteran’s contentions of pain and functional impairment.
(b) For any diagnoses, is it at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that the Veteran’s disability began in service, was caused by service, or is otherwise related to the Veteran’s active duty service?  In providing this opinion, the examiner should address the Veteran’s in-service left hand injury.
A complete rationale must be provided for any opinion offered.
 
ROBERT C. SCHARNBERGER
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	W.V. Walker, Associate Counsel

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