Federal Judge Awards Veteran $2.5 Million in VA Medical Negligence Suit
It is an unfortunate reality that medical mistakes happen and innocent patients are harmed as a result. Sometimes, such mistakes can be attributed to negligence or substandard care by a medical professional involved in the patient’s care. Filing a medical malpractice claim against a doctor or hospital can be complex under the best of circumstances but when a veteran of the United States military is harmed by the actions of a medical professional employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the situation can become even more complicated.Veteran Charges VA With Missed Cancer Diagnosis
In 2011, a then-40-year-old Army veteran sought care at a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Phoenix for health problems that had developed since his honorable discharge four years earlier. According to reports, the 18-year veteran was unable to get an appointment for almost six months. When he was finally seen, a nurse practitioner allegedly found “two abnormalities” during the man’s prostate examination, but failed to follow up and did not provide advice on further treatment.
A year later, a VAMC doctor diagnosed the veteran with stage-IV prostate cancer. Since then, the veteran has been undergoing treatment from a private physician. Stage-IV prostate cancer is not curable, but the veteran and his attorney claimed that if the nurse practitioner had followed up on the original findings, the diagnosis would have occurred sooner, giving doctors the chance to treat the condition more effectively.
In federal court earlier this month, a U.S. magistrate found in favor of the veteran, awarding him a $2.5 million verdict for his pain and suffering and reduced quality of life. The judge agreed that the nurse practitioner provided substandard care and that further action was reasonable and warranted at the time of the initial examination.Claims Against the VA
Many veterans seeking care at VA medical centers were injured or suffered illnesses in connection with their medical service. Therefore, proving that a doctor or VAMC staff member caused further injury or harm to a patient can be quite challenging. According to federal law, it is possible to make a claim against the VA, but the veteran must show that injury or harm occurred as the result of:
- Negligence or carelessness;
- Lack of required skill;
- An error in judgment; or
- Other fault on the part of a medical professional.
A claim against VA must be filed within two years of the incident or two years from the time the veteran knew about the injury. Such claims are extremely difficult to win, especially when they are handled internally. That is why it is important to enlist the help of a qualified attorney if you suspect that your injuries were the result of substandard care at a VA medical facility.
To learn more about filing a claim against a medical professional or hospital, contact an experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorney. Call (408) 289-1417 to schedule your free, confidential consultation at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.Sources