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Problems at VA hospitals said to be systemic

With the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, it is now becoming increasingly clear that our veterans were not receiving the medical care that they deserved. This was not a new problem, however. The Veterans Administration has paid $100 million over the past 10 years to settle medical malpractice claims.

Many of the medical mistakes have led to patient deaths. The wrong medications have been prescribed, illnesses were not diagnosed and surgical errors have occurred at VA hospitals. Medical errors were said to have occurred in a wide variety of locations as well. Shinseki only stepped down after it was reported that in some cases veterans had to wait several months for care. And one VA hospital has been accused of preparing fraudulent records to make it appear like wait periods were shorter.

While we are hearing a number of politicians expressing their outrage concerning these circumstances, the problems may be systemic and date back a number of years. One particular case dated back to surgery taking place in 2003. Lack of follow-up concerning this patient and substandard care appears to have led to this veteran losing his arm and eventually dying in 2005. This matter came to the attention of a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of New York who blasted the hospital for its care. The case was finally settled in February for $4.5 million.

That we even have had one case such as this is too many. The reason why clients and their attorneys do need to file medical malpractice cases to begin with is so that these types of error are less likely to reoccur. Hopefully needed changes at the VA will finally take place.

 

Source: Legal Times, "Med Mal Cases Reveal Long History of VA Care Problems," Jenna Greene, May 30, 2014

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