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Report Shows VA Incompetence Possibly Tied to 1,000 Patient Deaths

VA medical malpractice lawyersAlleged misconduct and incompetence by staff within the Department of Veteran Affairs may have caused the untimely demise of some 1,000 U.S. vets, according to a disturbing congressional report released by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) last week.

Substandard patient treatment and long waiting times for our nation’s veterans were the topic of a scathing report sent to President Obama by the Office of Special Counsel – an independent agency that explores whistle-blower complaints within the federal government. Chronic staff shortages, delayed treatments and a history of failing to take whistle-blower complaints seriously have led to an in-depth investigation and growing scandal over VA administration practices and poor patient care.

The New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys at Eisbrouch & Marsh are currently examining negligence claims against the VA. Those who have lost a loved one or believe they may have grounds for filing a lawsuit are encouraged to contact our offices a free evaluation of their legal options.

Audit on the Department of Veteran Affairs

“The scope of the VA’s incompetence — and Congress’ indifferent oversight — is breathtaking and disturbing. This investigation found the problems at the VA are far deeper than just scheduling,” said Sen. Coburn, who told the New York Post, “Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of VA’s misconduct and the VA has paid out nearly $1 billion to veterans and their families for its medical malpractice.”

The VA report, which looked at more than 730 outpatient clinics and hospitals, was damning on a number of levels. Some thirteen percent of VA employees reported being ordered by supervisors to falsify patient appointment schedules to make wait times seem shorter than they actually were. Bureaucratic red tape in conjunction with purported incompetence has contributed to the serious injuries or death of dozens of innocent veterans, according to the congressional report.

Three prime examples of veterans who received substandard treatment include:

  • VA physicians who missed a cancerous lung lesion on a routine chest scan. The vet later died from the lesion.
  • A  South Carolina vet who was diagnosed with advanced cancer after waiting nine months for his routine colonoscopy. Earlier detection may have yielded a better prognosis and prompt treatment.
  • A VA clinic that performed a tooth extraction on a Philadelphia vet without reviewing the patient’s blood pressure first. Because of his low blood pressure, he suffered a stroke later and is now partially paralyzed.

The congressional review has discovered a systemic problem of falsified records throughout the VA network, which is largely responsible for serving 9 million veterans.   A VA medical center in Mississippi has confirmed an array of allegations leveled by whistle-blowers, such as “improper credentialing of providers, inadequate review of radiology images, unlawful prescriptions for narcotics, noncompliant pharmacy equipment used to compound chemotherapy drugs, and unsterile medical equipment.”

VA medical malpractice lawyers in New Jersey

At Eisbrouch & Marsh, our legal team has nearly three decades of experience recovering favorable settlements and verdict for NJ residents who have been victims of substandard health care, whether in a VA clinic or private hospital. Our firm has access to seasoned investigators who are well-versed in the problems and issues facing the Department of Veteran Affairs. For more information about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Jersey during a confidential consultation, please contact our offices by calling 201-342-5545.

  1. New York Post, VA ‘misconduct’ may have led to 1,000 deaths: report http://nypost.com/2014/06/24/va-misconduct-may-have-led-to-1000-deaths-report/
  2. New York Times, Investigator Issues Sharp Criticism of V.A. Response to Allegations About Care http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/us/top-investigator-has-blistering-criticism-for-va-response-to-whistle-blowers.html?_r=0