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VA has paid out millions in medical malpractice over 10 years

Houston veterans deserve the best medical care because of the sacrifices they have made to the United States. Recently a study was completed showing that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has had millions of dollars of malpractice money paid out in the past 10 years in medical negligence claims.

Since 2003, over $840 million dollars has been awarded to 4,426 veterans and their family members for medical malpractice claims. A recent news story highlighted several examples of how these heroes of our country suffered medical negligence. There are many instances regarding negligent physicians failing to follow acceptable standards, as well as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, X-ray review mistakes and surgical errors. There was a story about a retired Air Force Captain who served in Vietnam who went in for heart arrhythmia and had the laser surgery accidentally puncture his heart. In another example, a Marine Corps veteran went in for a tooth extraction. His blood pressure was dangerously low but the physicians went ahead with the procedure. On the way home he suffered a stroke and crashed his car, leaving him with permanent debilitating injuries.

Many times the physicians who perform these negligent acts are not punished and even given bonuses. Several examples are mentioned of medical staff who make mistakes but still get a bonus. In addition, medical mistakes made by VA personnel are sometimes not reported to the state medical board. Many of these physicians do not need to worry about losing their license or having it suspended, nor must they worry about their contract not being renewed as is the case in the private sector.

Houston residents and veterans should know their rights if they are facing a medical malpractice issue. A legal professional skilled in medical malpractice can help a patient and his or her family determine what went wrong. They can investigate the circumstances surrounding the negligence and help the victim receive maximum compensation.

Source: actionnewsjax.com, "VA medical malpractice payouts top $845 million over 10 years," Catherine Varnum, Nov. 13, 2013

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