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Disabled vet awarded $8.3 million in VA hospital negligence case

New Jersey readers may be aware of the problems the VA health care system has had in recent months. Many active duty military members and veterans are not getting the quality of medical care that they would expect from the VA. A case of hospital negligence at a VA medical center in another state recently resulted in an $8.3 million award for a veteran and his wife following a botched surgery.

The Army veteran was admitted into the John Cochran VA Medical Center in Feb. 2009 for a routine surgical procedure. He had a cardiac stent placed in his chest through an incision on the upper part of his right thigh. Shortly after the procedure, the wound on his thigh started to swell and bleed. He was back in the hospital a week later for surgery meant to repair an infected artery at the incision.

He lost an excessive amount of blood during the surgery, which resulted in permanent brain damage. Afterwards, his leg required amputation because it developed gangrene. As a result of these complications, he is paralyzed and has little ability to communicate. His suit claims that the hospital staff delayed his surgery unnecessarily and that doctors made the repairs on his artery using infected tissue.

This is an unusual case, and most patients in New Jersey and elsewhere can feel confident that no complications will result from routine surgical procedures. However, if injuries occur due to hospital negligence, the patient does have legal options. He or she may be able to pursue a medical malpractice suit that seeks compensatory and punitive damages. While a successful suit can never right a wrong, it may help the patient feel that justice has been served as he or she tries to move on.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis man wins $8.3 million malpractice award against John Cochran VA hospital, Blythe Bernhard, Nov. 19, 2013

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Alan D. Bell
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