When a Florida resident goes to the dentist for a tooth extraction – a procedure that’s been performed thousands of time – they don’t expect to end up paralyzed for life. However, that’s the fate that many veterans have faced when they sought medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the past decade, the VA had paid a whopping $845 million in medical malpractice payouts – at taxpayers’ expense. It’s frustrating to hear the stories of veterans who have survived the horrors of war, only to die at the hands of doctors who neglected these war heroes when they were ill.
There were 454 paid malpractice claims in 2012, with awards adding up to more than $98 million. This was the second-highest number of payouts in the last 10 years. The highest was in 2008, when there were 462 payouts. Although VA officials claim the number of payouts are low considering they treat millions of veterans each year, politicians feel there needs to be reform, especially when you consider the individual cases,
These veterans are promised excellent health care, but instead, medical staff often neglects the patients or causes them to become disabled after routine procedures. In one case, a laser surgery punctured a veteran’s heart, causing his heart to bleed and his organs to fail. The man later died. Although his family did finally receive a settlement, the doctor was never held accountable. In addition, these same doctors are often given bonuses and promotions even after providing substandard care. In fact, the VA gave $160 million in bonuses to medical providers in 2011.
It’s sad to hear of veterans who have risked their lives to fight for our country nowrisk their lives in order to receive adequate medical care. Veterans and families should continue to fight for their legal rights and continue to hope that reform will happen soon.
Source: ActionnewsJax.com, “VA medical malpractice payouts top $840 million over 10 years” Catherine Varnum, Nov. 13, 2013