Posted On: August 6, 2009 by Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney

VA Hospital Errors Affect Vets, Claims Being Filed

An attorney from Nashville is preparing to file claims with the VA for about 60 veterans. According to this article by the Associated Press on Philly.com, he is going to ask the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pay disability benefits and damages for hospital mistakes that may have exposed veterans to infectious body fluids.

The veterans have tested positive for HIV and hepatitis and others have suffered emotional distress after the VA provided them with initial positive blood tests for infections that turned out to be wrong. Other veterans among the roughly 10,000 affected former patients at VA hospitals in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Miami and Augusta, Ga., are likely to seek compensation beyond the VA’s offer of free medical care.

The attorney is planning to file medical malpractice and emotional distress claims with the VA within 30 to 45 days. The claims process differs from a traditional malpractice lawsuit because the VA is a federal agency. The patient’s claim first must be reviewed by a VA regional attorney.

The VA has offered free medical care to the affected veterans, but the attorney said it is no more than they already expected. The requested compensation will vary greatly, depending on the veteran’s age, ailments, and other factors.

Records show that among the patients who have heeded VA warnings to get follow-up blood checks, eight have tested positive for HIV. Twelve former patients have tested positive for hepatitis B and 37 have tested positive for hepatitis C.

A total of 9,141 veterans have received follow-up blood test results among the 10,320 former patients who were warned they might have even minimum risk of exposure.

The VA has said the errors were limited to the three facilities, but a report released by the agency’s inspector general showed some more widespread problems. Investigators found that only 43 percent of the agency’s medical centers had standard operating procedures in place for endoscopic equipment and could show they properly trained their staffs for using the devices.

When patients have been treated with substandard care by a doctor or healthcare provider and have suffered injuries or disabilities as a result, the patients have been the victims of medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, prescription drug errors, birth injuries, failure to treat diseases, delay in treatment, and negligence are just a few examples of medical malpractice. People of all ages are at risk for medical malpractice, including children, adults, and the elderly.

Medical malpractice is a distressing situation, and the skilled Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Cherry, Fieger, and Marciano, LLP, will make the process as simple as possible for you. If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania, please contact Cherry, Fieger, and Marciano, LLP today for a free consultation with a Philadelphia PA medical malpractice attorney.