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Boot Camp Injuries and Your Rights

I found this link re a recruit injured in bootcamp, not Navy but the answers to the parents questions may provide assistance to recruits injured in bootcamp

QUESTION: My daughter joined the army last year. At boot camp she fell out of her bunk and broke her hand in multiple areas. They took her to an ortho doctor who wanted to cast it and send her home to heal the bring her back. My daughter proved to him that she could still PT and they kept her. She graduated from Basic nd AIT. Now she is stationed in Germany and having problems with her hand. They x-rayed it, brike it again and set it. Now, it has again healed wrong and will be having surgery with a 50% of full use. Thy are talkng medical discharge. On top of this they have just diagnoed her with cervical cancer that has over 1 year of growth and have to send her to a German doctor for care because of the progression. She has only served a year. If medically dishcharged, does she get a severance and then a percnetage(how much) being that it is her right hand. Also, does she get all her school benefits still. Does she have to fight all of this or is it all automatic? Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Dear Joann --

I am so sorry that your daughter was injured in line of service and is now ill. You and she will have a struggle ahead of you to ensure she is fairly treated and gets what she deserves for the service she has already given.

First -- Do not let your daughter sign any medical discharge until her treatment is complete. Unfortunately, some unethical "medical holding company" personnel may try to get her to sign discharge papers when she is vulnerable, recovering from surgery. Make sure she understands not to sign anything.

Next -- Do not let her sign discharge paperwork while she is in Germany. Have her immediately apply for a compassionate reassignment back to a unit near you, as long as you have a good hospital near you. In lieu of that, have her take convalescent leave and get permission to travel and recover near you. She will need a strong advocate while she recovers, and tries to work through the military medical system.

Finally -- her mantra becomes -- she wanted a military career. Her hand injury and the poor military medical treatment of her hand injury has denied her that opportunity. If she does not stick with this story, she will be medically discharged rather than medically retired. A discharge will pay her a lump sum now, but she will have no additional income and will be responsible for her own health care in the future. A medical retirement means she will get a small stipend for the rest of her life, access to Veteran's Administration (VA) job retraining and assistance programs, and health care in the VA hospitals for the rest of her life. Plus she will get to benefit from the GI Bill and any other benefits she earned for her service.

Her hand injury will earn her disability pay, if she is medically retired. She can apply to have the percentage disability reviewed by the VA once she is retired. If she is medically separated, she will have to fight with the social security office about whether her injury is harmful enough to mean she is "disabled" and due a social security pension. It has been my experience that getting a SSA disability rating for a disabled hand will be even more difficult than getting the medical retirement.

I wish you both the best. Please feel free to write back, if questions arise during your daughter's care and medical board process.

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Comment by Rose R on August 10, 2008 at 4:16pm
Your welcome, McNavy. I am concerned about the recruits injured who are not treated at boot camp , or inadequately treated, and then discharged with no medical coverage.


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