About Me – Continued

anaiseIn addition to being a lawyer I am a surgeon with almost thirty years of medical experience. I served as Clinical Associate Professor in Surgery and Attending Surgeon in Transplantation at SUNY at Stony Brook, , New York Assistant Editor, Transplantation Proceedings and President of the New York Transplantation Society.

As a associate professor of surgery I have authored 3 book chapters three patents and 106 research papers published in peer reviewed medical journals. Because of my medical and research background, I believe I am in the best position to study and present your disability case in the best light.

If you are at the initial claim phase you are not allowed to have an attorney representing you. I can however provide you with an independent medical opinion.  If you were denied a claim I can represent you before the VA


Sharon Benham, M.D. joined our practice as a medical researcher in 2013. Over the years we have collaborated on the research and writing of Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs). We co­authored the book Medical Evidence in Veteran’s Disability Rating, now available on Amazon .

Dr. Benham’s IMOs have been well received by the VA:
BVA Decision 06-18-2018 Docket No. 14-31 145A

“…the Board notes the Veteran submitted a private medical opinion, dated October 2017, opining that the Veteran’s sleep disorder including insomnia and sleep apnea” is more likely than not secondary to his PTSD. See October 2017 private medical opinion of S.B. The physician stated that it is well established in the scientific literature that sleep apnea in a Veteran is more likely than not secondary to PTSD; 47.6 percent of combat Veterans with PTSD were found to have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) compared to only 12.5 percent of healthy controls. The October 2017 private medical opinion goes into depth about the relationship between sleep apnea/insomnia and PTSD, and discusses multiple studies that support the relationship…Given the current diagnosis of sleep apnea with insomnia and the medical opinion that relates his post-service diagnosis to his service-connected PTSD, the Board resolves any reasonable doubt in the Veteran’s favor and finds that the evidence supports granting service connection for sleep apnea with insomnia.”

Rating Decision 04-04-2018

“We received additional evidence to include a statement and opinion by Dr. Benham who reviewed your medical history and provided a statement linking your sleep apnea as secondary to your service-connected sinusitis and rhinitis. We have resolved all reasonable doubt in your favor and granted the benefit sought on appeal.”

BVA Decision 09-10-2018 Docket No. 07-11 569

“Supporting the claim is the December 2017 report of Dr. B. On review of the claims file, medical literature, and her own clinical experience, she opined it was more likely than not that the Veteran’s lumbar DDD with radiculopathy were related to the in-service MVA. She recounted portions of the Veteran’s medical records and his history of symptoms. She cited and discussed details of numerous medical studies showing that traumatic injuries, such as injuries incurred in a MVA, set off immunological reactions which result in the onset of osteoarthritis. In many cases, including the Veteran’s, the development of osteoarthritis occurs significantly later than the initial injury.

In considering the evidence under the laws and regulations as set forth above, and resolving any doubt in his favor, the Board concludes that the Veteran is entitled to service connection for his lumbar DDD with radiculopathy. The December 2017 report is adequate for the purposes of adjudication. Dr. B based her conclusions on an examination of claims file and a review of medical literature, and related the conditions to service based on the corroborated MVA, symptoms in service, and symptoms post-service. See Steil v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 120, 123 (2007).”

Recently the Court of Veterans Appeals ruled that it would be inappropriate for me to provide a medical opinion while at the same time representing the client.  The VA  will not object to an IMO provided by me  BEFORE  representation was undertaken. To avoid confusion, When I represent a client, Dr. Benham will provide the medical opinion letters and I will provide the legal reasoning. Even though I will not be signing these  IMOs, I will continue to be deeply involved in researching and drafting the IMOs with Dr. Benham. The IMOs will continue to be of the same high standard.

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