The standard is "can the member recover in order to be able to deploy in less than a year"
If the answer is yes? Then they will keep him
If the answer is no? Then he will be discharged
It really is as simple as that.
The standard for the Medical Evaluation Board is "can the member deploy in a year or less"..that will determine if they are able to separate or not.
Now...what you describe? it sounds like this condition is chronic. That it will not resolve in a year or less. So if that is the case? I would expect them to separate him.
That leads to the next question...what will happen? WIll he rate a severance or retirement
That depends on the nature of the condition.
If this condition was caused by or aggravated by his service (and after 17 years, that should be an easy one to answer yes to)? Then he will be compensated for this...which leads to the final question..what is the level of disability?
If the rating for disability is 20% or less? He is separated with a severance check based on his time in/rank/level of disability.
If the rating is 30% or more? He is retired medically.
This all will be borne out in the MEB/PEB process.
He will want to pay careful attention as the MEB progresses. He can hire an attorney if he likes to assist...and if they make a finding, for example, that his condition is not related to his service, that would be a good idea (to hire a lawyer).
BotXXXXX XXXXXne: what you describe, I suspect they will discharge
him...but it also sounds like he will be eligible for a severance check or medical retirement.
Finally, he can and should apply to the VA since he is likely entitled to compensation from the VA as well