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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26162
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I am in the PA Army national guard. I was diagnosed with carpal

Resolved Question:

I am in the PA Army national guard. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel and severe tendonitis due to a civilian part time job. I had two MRI completed 4 weeks and and received shots in the arm yesterday. I sent in a request for leave for AT that starts the end of next week. I was told that I would still have to go. We recently returned from a Muta 10 and I got a profile and in return was the RTO. The working of the radio and writing increased the pain in my wrists. I returned home Saturday night; Sunday and Monday for the first 4.5 approx. I could not make a fist or straighten out my hand and had to keep my hands up to my chest. My question is when I go to AT and my hands start hurting or the injury increases again just lake the past week, what should I do? Make a complaint? Contact JAG? Have the army take over costs? Any information would be helpful.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

I am sorry for this dilemma

JAG is not who you need at this point...but you can, and should, make it clear to your chain of command the pain you are experiencing. At this point this is a "command" issue.

If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to perform your duties, and this condition is expected to last one year or more, then the appropriate course of action for your commander to take would be to process you for a MEB (medical evaluation board). This is true regardless of if your condition was caused by the military or not.

Part of the process of the MEB is to determine what caused the medical condition.

If it was caused by the military? Or made worse by the military? Then you are entitled to compensation for this. Both from the military and/or the Veterans Administration. The rules regarding compensation are complex...but the short answer is if the military caused it or made it worse? Then you are entitled to compensation from one or the other (either the military or the VA, depending on how the processing of your case goes)

This is why you need to start with your chain of command.

The proper process would be for the commander to convene a MEB and allow the MEB to examine you, figure out what is going on with you (sounds like you know that already...carpel tunnel), then allow the MEB to process you (discharge you if this condition will last more than one year)

I mention JAG can not help you yet, since this is still a command issue

Now...if your commander refuses to convene a MEB and continues to require you to work, causing more injury to your wrists? Then it may be that JAG is appropriate. But frankly there is not much they can do....but there IS something you can do.

If your commander is not treating you fairly, you can file what is called an Article 138 UCMJ complaint.

This is a formal complaint of wrong against your commander.

You put your complaint in writing, mention that it is made under Art 138, UCMJ, and hand to any commissioned officer. They will send it up to the Division commander who will investigate.

So you have recourse...if your commander is not treating you fairly, you can complain up the chain of command.

But the start is to go to work and make the chain of command know about this issue...that puts the onus on them to start the MEB process


Let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You mentioned one year or more for MEB. Would this start when the pain initially started, in dec., or when I first orally told the military in April?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

The year is tied to your ability to perform your duties. So when they run the MEB, the question will be "will this run for a year or more" from that date (the date the MEB starts)

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, one more question. Since I have been told to attend AT, should I keep track of when my hands and wrist pain start to aggravate more and put that into writing as well? Also what happens if they put off the MEB process until after AT or don't start it at all?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
You should certainly keep track of your symptoms...this for medical diagnosis reasons if nothing else.

If they refuse to run a MEB? I would file an Art 138 Complaint

P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26162
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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