A Vietnam veteran went to the McGuire VA Medical Center in 2015, when he was 63-years-old, complaining of phlegm in his throat. A VA doctor recommended that the man have Botox injections into his vocal cords, explaining that a possible complication may be a temporary change in the pitch of his voice, which would resolve within ninety days.
The man reluctantly agreed to the procedure after obtaining a second opinion, and the painful Botox injections into his vocal folds took place on July 9, 2015. Despite never being warned that he may lose his voice, he was unable to speak and he had difficulty breathing immediately after the procedure. Three years later, the man’s voice has not returned and he requires the use of oxygen, which he did not require prior to receiving the Botox injections into his vocal folds. He now relies on his daughter to speak for him.
The veteran and his daughter allege that during follow up medical appointments, they requested that a patient advocate employed by the VA medical center accompany them. They allege that the patient advocate took copious notes during the follow up medical appointments that supported a claim of medical negligence under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
The veteran filed his Federal Tort Claims Act administrative claim with the VA, which denied the claim and also denied the appeal of the denial. When it came time to file a federal lawsuit, pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, the veteran was stymied by the failure of the VA to produce the patient advocate’s computer notes (the notes were missing) and the failure to provide certain requested medical documentation (i.e., images taken during the procedure) necessary for the plaintiff to proceed with his medical negligence lawsuit.
The veteran’s VA medical malpractice lawyer stated that he did not have sufficient information for an expert to say, “We see a breach in the standard of care and because we didn’t have enough facts and images, we didn’t have enough to prove despite what appears to be obvious. We didn’t have enough to prove that the negligence performance from the Botox injection caused his permanent paralysis or whether it was something like an underlying condition … the problem is there is no one to hold accountable because all of this information was missing. The short term loser is [my client] and the long-term loser is vets being cared for at the VA Medical Center.”
If you or a loved one suffered injury (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice at a VA medical center, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who handles Federal Tort Claims Act claims and who may investigate your federal medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a federal tort claim action, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find federal medical malpractice attorneys (federal tort claim attorneys) who may assist you.
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