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Veterans' Benefits and Issues: Medical Sources

The Veterans' Benefits and Issues Libguide provides an overview of Veterans' Benefits research, Veterans' issues, and information on Veterans' outreach.

Louis L. Biro Law Library

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Need more help? Reference librarians are available to meet with students in one-on-one sessions (or in small groups) to discuss research strategies, recommend relevant resources or review specific topics of legal research. 

Contact with the subject you're researching and when you would like to meet. A librarian will get back to you to set up an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment on the library homepage by clicking "Schedule an Online Research Appointment." We ask that you request your appointment at least 2 days in advance, but remember that you can always stop by the reference desk for immediate help with a quick research question.


Illinois Medical Library Locations


The following medical libraries are open to the public:

For a complete list of Illinois Libraries, please consult the National Network of Libraries of Medicine's (NNLM) Illinois State Profile page .  

NNLM's Resources for Members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) also contains links and information on medical libraries located across the country.


Veterans' advocates often need to turn to medical sources to support veterans' disability claims.  Advocates who research medical resources can use this knowledge to more effectively communicate with the veterans' doctor(s).  Further, advocates as counselors can keep veterans informed by providing medical information about the veterans' medical disorder(s).  The medical resources included on this page are organized by Medical Encyclopedias and Reference Materials; Medical Treatises for Attorneys; Studies and Articles; VA Medical Rating Manuals, Disability Questionnaires, and Guides.  

Note: The secondary medical sources provided will generally identify the intended audience (e.g., medical practitioners, attorneys, veterans). Some of these medical sources are written for attorneys, medical practitioners, used in disability compensation exams, and others are general reference sources for the public.  

Medical Encyclopedias and Reference Materials

Attorney's reference on human anatomy
, by June Melloni et al. (2008; Catalog Record) (patron access; audience: attorneys and medical practitioners).  This illustrated human anatomy provides pictures, short descriptions, and relationships within and between the anatomical systems.  This resource could be useful to veterans benefits researchers looking at possible secondary conditions to a service-connected disability. 

DSM-IV-TR Handbook of Differential Diagnosis (Catalog Record) (Patron access; audience: medical practitioners).  Psychiatric practitioners use the DSM-IV-TR to help diagnose mental disorders and diseases.  The DSM-IV-TR may be useful reference for PTSD disability claims and other potential service connected mental disorders and diseases.

Medline Plus (Online Public Access; audience: medical field and the general public).  The National Institutes of Health's Medline Plus's goal is to provide the public authorative and current information on medical disorders, treatments, and drugs.  Patients and family members can go to this website and access videos and tutorials on medical procedures and treatments.  Veterans' advocates can consult Medline Plus to learn about a veterans' medical issues.  

Medscape (Online Public Access; audience: medical practitioners).  This reference tool has entries on medical diseases/procedures, and also provides tools to help patient treatment (e.g., drug interactor checker).   Medscape allows members to sign up, allowing them to customize the site to a particular medical field.  

  • Note: While Medscape is a private company, the site has partnerships with several medical schools and hospitals.  This resource is a great reference tool, especially if the researcher cannot easily access a Merck Manual.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (Library Catalog) (Library Patron Access; audience: medical field).  The Merck manual is one of the most common reference materials used by medical practitioners to diagnose and treat disorders.   

Medical Treatises for Attorneys

Attorneys Medical Deskbook, by Dan J. Tennenhouse (4th ed.; Catalog Record;available on Westlaw to JMLS faculty/students) (Patron Access; audience: attorneys).  This legal treatise provides an overview of the medical field, evaluating medical evidence, and handling medical legal issues.  This resource is an excellent resource for advocates because it provides advocates with a comprehensive approach to dealing with medical issues (e.g., assessing medical evidence, the medical field's diagnostic approach, specific medical conditions, etc.).  Veterans' advocates could use this source to look at how medical reports are evaluated, but should remember to consult veterans' law for different treatment of evidence pertaining to disability and compensation claims.  

Lawyers' Medical Cyclopedia of Personal Injuries and Allied Specialties (Catalog Record; available on LexisNexis to JMLS faculty/students) (patron access; audience: attorneys).  The Lawyers' medical cyclopedia is a comprehensive treatise that covers the medical field, common medical malpractice legal issues, evaluating medical procedures, treatment plans, and a comprehensive description of injuries and illnesses.  The book is designed to assist in litigation of personal injuries and illnesses, but could be utilized to help support a veteran's disability claim.

Traumatic Brain Injury : Evaluation and Litigation / Peter G. Bernad, Betty Brutman, Thomas J. Guilmette, M. Eileen Mcnamara, Richard W. Petrocelli and John M. Smothers (Catalog Record) (patron access; audience: attorneys).  This practical guide was written to help attorneys understand the medical and litigation issues involved in a traumatic brain injury case.

Studies and Articles

The internet has helped increase public access to medical articles and studies.  These articles and studies could be used in support of a disability and compensation claim.  

  • PubMed Central (internet source/ audience: medical researchers, doctors and the public).  The United States Federal Government promotes public access to medical reports and studies that have received federal funding.  Published reports are eventually accessible through PubMed Central's archives, ranging from immediate release to a 36 month delay.  Journals may limit the release of articles that did not receive federal funding.  Many of these articles are still under copyright, so please consult the PubMed Central copyright page for more information.

VA Medical Rating Manuals, Disability Questionnaires, and Guides

Disability Questionnaires (Public Internet Access/ audience: advocates, veterans, and medical practitioners).  The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a series of questionnaires related to claims for disability.  Veterans can request a private doctor or VA treating doctor to fill out a disability questionnaire.  These questionnaires can be used to support a veteran's disability claim(s).  Veterans' advocates can also use a Disability Questionnaire as a checklist for factors needed for a given medical disorder/injury.  

C&P Service Clinician’s Guide (Public Internet Access/ audience: medical practitioners).  The VA's C&P Service Clinician's Guide was primarily used by VA clinicians conducting disability exams prior to the release of the Disability Questionnaires.  The document still serves as a good reference point because the chapters often provide a description of the examination's purpose, an exam overview, disorder factors to consider, and guidance in diagnosing to help the VA compensation and pension rater.

Finding Medical Experts for VA claims

Many veterans rely on the VA compensation and pension exams to substantiate a service-connected or disability pension claim.  The veteran can also rely on a private doctor's examination, preferably a doctor who specializes oi that type of injury or illness.  However, some veterans cannot afford to see a private doctor.  The following non-profit organization helps veterans obtain private doctor statements for service-connected claims and disability pensions:

Care for Disabled Veterans (internet source/ audience: veterans, medical providers, and the public).  Care for Disabled Veterans is a registered non-profit organization that helps qualified veterans obtain no-cost private medical opinions/statements needed to support veterans' disability claims.  The organization recruits doctors who are willing to volunteer and provide medical examinations and written statements in support of veterans' disability claims.   The organization also raises money to help provide veterans with medical examinations.