The U.S. government settled a VA medical malpractice case during January 2015 by agreeing to pay $900,000 in the pending federal tort claim lawsuit that alleged the negligent failure of a VA scheduler to timely arrange for a man who had melanoma to receive specialized care for his condition. The man, who was particularly vulnerable to cancer due to the medication he was required to take following his liver transplant, died in November 2012 after the spread of his disease.
The man was diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in May 2011. The scheduler at the VA Puget Sound (Washington State) was supposed to arrange for the man’s necessary surgery at the University of Washington but failed to do so. During the three month delay between the time the scheduler was required to perform her job responsibility in a prompt fashion until the man scheduled the appointment on his own due to the VA’s negligent delay, the man’s cancer spread throughout his body.
The man had recently turned his life around after overcoming his addictions, and he had become a mentor helping others with their addictions. He had served in the Army after the Viet Nam War and had returned to the Puget Sound area after he completed his military service. The settlement of the man’s failure-to-refer medical malpractice claim is the largest settlement amount paid since 2001 involving the VA Puget Sound.
The U.S. government paid $5.9 million for wrongful death claims between 2001 and 2011 involving the VA Puget Sound. Since then until early 2014, an additional $1.3 million was paid to resolve three wrongful death claims involving the VA Puget Sound.
After the settlement was reached, the man’s sister said, “Clearly my brother was not alone, and his case is one of many that was the impetus for change. Change was not achieved by an individual, but by many people standing up and demanding resolution. I know that we did the right thing and I know my brother would have approved.”
In discussing the changes promised by the VA medical system as a result of the internal investigation into her brother’s case and other serious problems throughout the VA, including the well-publicized problems of the VA in Phoenix, Arizona last year, the sister stated, “I don’t think we can ask for more than that.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office located in Seattle, Washington has confirmed the settlement of the man’s VA medical malpractice case but has refused further comment.
This VA medical malpractice case is an example of how medical care is often provided by many cogs in the medical community – if one cog fails, the patient may suffer the consequences, which can be severe or even deadly.
If you or a loved one received medical treatment through the VA that was negligent, or the VA negligently failed to provide necessary medical care in a timely fashion, you should promptly find a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who handles VA medical malpractice claims who may investigate your VA medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim involving the VA, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find VA medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.