Negligence Leads to Filing a Veterans Affairs Lawsuit
A recent analysis from the Government Accountability Office determined that several VA medical facilities had ignored a large percentage patient complaints, representing yet another terrible report involving VA medical centers, now well-known for administering low-quality care to patients who ought to be treated as heroes. A report examined five VA medical centers from 2013 to 2017 and found the centers failed to monitor and review the performance of over a hundred doctors, enabling incompetence and likely concealing instances of medical malpractice.
When VA administrators do find evidence of medical malpractice, VA facilities sometimes have been known to cover it up. In recent reports, investigators located at least 126 cases in which employees committed serious offenses though they failed to terminate culpable doctors and nurses. In many of the instances, administrators omitted the incidents from employees’ records.
In 2017, USA Today revealed that a VA Hospital in Iowa City recruited a surgeon despite knowing that Wyoming had revoked his medical license. The surgeon conducted four brain surgeries on one veteran, who later died due to infection. Negligent care has become the norm in VA medical centers. Veterans have to wait agonizingly long periods for care as well. The VA aims to keep wait times for appointments under 14 days, an unreasonable time frame in most cases. Veterans Affairs Secretary recently announced that delays in care will likely increase in 2018.
The VA has long been under scrutiny for life-threatening delay in treating veterans, and a lack of transparency. The department’s secrecy emboldens its critics and more so when each veterans affairs lawsuit is settled confidentially.
The VA is the nation’s largest employer of health care workers and for years the system has concealed mistakes by staff members entrusted with caring for veterans. Agency managers often do not report negligent practitioners to state licensing boards, making it possible for them to keep working with patients at other locations.
In some documented cases, veterans’ hospitals signed secret settlements with doctors, nurses and health care workers that agreed to conceal their past mistakes and medical errors. USA Today reviewed about 230 secret settlement deals and in some the VA agreed to delete negative records from personnel files. Reported negligence includes a nurse who left a psychiatric patient bound in leather restraints for hours, a technician who made errors on bone imaging charts, and a hospital director accused of sexual harassment.
Many cases are associated with the VA’s long wait-time and overmedication tendency. VA policy recommends officials notify another authorities within 100 days of launching an investigation into medical workers. But experts said the VA’s reporting practices leave holes that endanger patients.
Outside of a Veterans Affairs Lawsuit, the VA and its doctors face few deterrents for medical malpractice, as clinicians aren’t personally liable for medical errors, and the government doesn’t pay punitive damages on negligence claims. The VA does pay out for mistakes, including around $200 million in wrongful death cases for less than 1,000 cases, the Center for Investigative Reporting found in 2014. Settlements and medical mistakes have increased as VA hospitals have grown busier. VA settlements have increased to $338 million for lawsuits filed for missed diagnosis, blown procedures, delayed care and substandard care.
The VA department cared for 6.6 million veterans in 2014, a greater than 50 percent from 2001. Critics say the federal government has done little to improve treatment. The federal department covers payouts and settlements for any Veterans Affairs Lawsuit filed against the VA, out of a judgment fund. If you have been injured or experienced malpractice, it could be possible to sue the VA and bring a successful claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before you can sue the VA, you must present a claim within two years of the date of negligence to the appropriate federal agency. The VA requires at least six months to conduct an investigation before suit can be filed in federal court. Procedure includes the following:
It takes courage to challenge a health care provider and file a Veterans Affairs Lawsuit. The Lyon Firm can help you find the answers to the many questions that have gone unanswered. Together we can make a difference in your life and the lives of others by making Ohio VA medicine safer. For a no-cost consultation, call Joe Lyon at (800) 513-2403.