The Center for Investigative Reporting just released a report announcing that the families of four deceased military service members will collect around $1.4 million in settlement money. Caregivers treated the veterans at the Coatesville Veterans Affair Medical Clinic in Virginia.
- One VA medical malpractice case (which settled for $100,000) concerned accusations that caregivers did not monitor a veteran who later died.
- Another case, which closed back in February 2008 for nearly $500,000, concerned the VA’s failure to manage a psychiatric patient.
- A third case closed in August 2011: A misdiagnosed VA patient died.
- A fourth case closed in December 2011 for $500,000: a caregiver failed to monitor a sick veteran.
Amazingly, those four cases constitute just a drop in the bucket. VA facilities around the country currently face over 1,000 wrongful death actions; the government has already settled various matters for over $200 million.
Why is this happening, and what are lawmakers doing about it?
Patrick Mayhem, a Democratic Congressman, lashed out recently against President Obama for allowing the situation at VA facilities to get so bad. Mayhem said “the President spoke of accountability at his press conference today but is showing none… The horrors that have been exposed at the VA facilities across the country are shameful, and addressing them requires less talk and more decisive action.” Among other things, Mayhem had wanted Obama to fire VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Obama did meet with Shinseki at the Oval Office, and he exchanged harsh words. The President said: "I told the Secretary I will not stand for [what is happening with the VA facilities] – not as Commander-in-chief but also not as an American.”
Nationwide outrage has been building, following repeated allegations of patients dying at VAs due to misdiagnoses or bad treatment. Patients and their families also complain about costly, nonsensical delays.
There has been a massive influx of soldiers back from campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past several years. These people often need more than just temporary assistance with medical problems. They also need long term psychiatric help as well as therapy for chronic issues caused by head injuries, PTSD and war-related depression.
Patient rights advocates want to see positive action to fix the VA facilities to make them more functional and make the system fairer. Obama reassured voters last week: “we are going to fix whatever is wrong, and so long as I have the privilege of serving as Commander In-Chief, I am going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and benefits and opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come.”
Hopefully, that will be the case.
If someone you love was hurt, misdiagnosed, or otherwise poorly treated at a VA facility or any other medical center, call Regan Zambri & Long today for a free consultation at (202) 759-6699.