Those who have fought for our country should be receiving some of the best healthcare possible through veterans’ benefits. However, Florida veterans may want to think twice before entrusting their health to veterans medical centers. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) paid more than 400 payments to resolve medical malpractice lawsuits.
The VA has seen a huge increase in the number of medical malpractice claims in recent years. Cases include procedures performed on the wrong body parts, as well as delayed treatment and missed diagnoses. At one VA hospital, a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak killed five patients. These issues reflect patient safety concerns in veterans medical clinics across the country.
One possible reason why medical malpractice claims are becoming more common is that VA medical centers are caring for more patients. More veterans are taking advantage of their benefits, especially those with severe medical issues. In addition, there are more and more cases of post-traumatic stress disorder that doctors are dealing with. Also, the number of veterans is rapidly increasing. In the next four years, there will be more than one million new veterans.
Victims of these malpractice issues are getting higher claim payments. Why? The average age of the veterans are much younger than in the past. Veterans of Vietnam and World War II averaged 65 years of age and older, while recent veterans are in their 20s and 30s. Because they will suffer from the effects of medical malpractice for a longer period of time, they often receive much higher payouts.
The VA will need to step up and find ways to care for the influx of patients. When patients die or become seriously injured from routine medical procedures, more needs to be done. Those injured due to a doctor’s negligence should asses their legal options. Medical malpractice claims can be difficult to win, but a win can mean millions of dollars in judgment – money that can help pay medical bills and compensate for physical and emotional pain.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Veterans’ Medical Malpractice Costs Rising As More Soldiers Seek Care” Kathleen Miller, Sep. 13, 2013