No Diagnosis? No Label? How to proceed with your CPP appeal?

Earlier this year, I attended a Review Tribunal hearing where my client - let's call her Bonnie - did not have a formal diagnosis - the doctors basically did not know what was causing her medical problems and symptoms. One of the reasons HRSDC was denying her was because the doctors could not provide treatment options for an individual when they did not know what the medical condition was - so the Feds were saying - the client still had treatment options available to her!

If anyone has watched the Discovery Health Channel's television series "Mystery Diagnosis" there are many people who sometimes go years with all types of symptoms before a medical professional can diagnose their condition - not having a "label" can be frustrating for an appellant - not only on a personal level - but when they try to apply for a disability benefit.

This was the case with Bonnie. Despite, numerous appointments with all types of medical practitioners - of all kinds of specialities - she still did not have a diagnosis.

Medical evidence is needed to show it is more likely than not, that a person meets the definition of disability. However, in Bonnie's case, as her condition has not yet been diagnosed, she had not received any beneficial treatment and she is, therefore, likely to continue from such conditions into the indefinite future. Therefore, we could argue her condition is prolonged.

As Bonnie's medical condition has not been diagnosed, it has not been successfully treated, and although she has followed various treatment recommendations to no avail and or despite significant side effects - she had made several attempts to mitigate. She also tried a return to work without success.

In Heisler v, MHRD CP 13450 (PAB), the Pension Appeals Board, after describing the Appellant's symptoms, stated the following:  "there is some question as to the proper diagnosis of her ailments. . . While there is a shortage of objective evidence pinpointing the exact nature or cause of her pain, not one doctor has suggested that it does not exist or that the Appellant has exaggerated its intensity or frequency."  Notwithstanding the lack of diagnosis, the Pension Appeals Board determined the Appellant's disability was severe.

This is what we argued at the hearing - despite lack of diagnosis - Bonnie was still disabled according to the legislative criteria. I am pleased to advise that Bonnie was successful with her appeal.