Hundreds of Detroit vets misdiagnosed in Veterans Affairs traumatic brain injury exam mishap

Posted at 6:00 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 10:27:42-05

In a letter, sent to 25,000 vets nationwide, the Department of Veterans Affairs admits traumatic brain injury (TBI) examinations between 2007 and 2015 were mishandled.

They were not conducted by properly qualified neurological and psychiatric specialists, resulting in not only potential misdiagnosis, but disability compensation claims that may have been unfairly denied.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," says veteran Kenneth McDonald, who detailed the trouble getting a diagnosis at Detroit's VA. "I knew they weren't gonna recognize it."

The 7 Investigators learning the Detroit region ranks in the top 15 nationwide for those affected - nearly 500 vets (485 to be exact) got the letter.

It has led to lawmakers on Capitol Hill raising questions.

"Do you think sending one letter to veterans about this is enough?," asked U.S Rep. Dina Titus.

For the VA right now, it appears it is.

We don't have numbers on how many of those contacted have actually shown up to get retested. We've also learned, vets have less than 7 months from today to do so and apply for benefits if rediagnosed.

"TBI is caused by trauma to the brain and can be mild or serious," says Rep. Ralph Abraham.

It is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanastan wars.

"TBI is also referred to as the invisible disease, because it can be difficult to detect," says Abraham.

Making the proper diagnosis, by the proper doctor, is essential.

If you are a veteran concerned about your original TBI exam, you can call the VA hotline at: 1-800-749-8387.