One can sue the Veteran’s Administration if it commits medical malpractice against a patient. However, it can be more difficult than filing a private lawsuit. Families of patients who die under the care of the VA must complete an administrative review process which can take months. Further, the family may win only actual damages and not punitive damages. In addition, the VA actively fights every case so lawsuits can often take years to resolve. The median settlement in a wrongful death case involving the VA is only $150,000.
Although pursuing a claim against the VA is tough, it can be successfully done. Since 2001, the VA has paid $200 million to settle almost 1,000 cases, according to an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Some of those who filed malpractice claims or wrongful death claims against the VA include families of Iraq War veterans who were denied mental health treatment and killed themselves, families of elderly veterans who were neglected, and Vietnam vets who had cancerous tumors that were allowed to grow.
In fact, many of the wrongful death and medical malpractice claims that have been filed against the VA are similar to claims which are filed against private hospitals on a regular basis. Some of those claims include patients dying from falls while in the hospital, an outbreak of a disease at a hospital, missed diagnoses, surgeries that are done incorrectly, infections and internal bleeding.
The VA spokespeople have publically defended the agency, reporting that over six million veterans seek care from the VA each year, and the cases identified in the Center for Investigative Reporting documents represent only a small fraction of their patients. At the same time the report was released, Congress has been investigating the VA over delays and deaths which could have been prevented. The VA has allegedly failed to discipline officials who are responsible for deaths which could have been prevented. In some cases, the executives involved received bonuses even after bungling certain patient care situations.
Generally, in order to show that medical malpractice occurred, it must be proven that a doctor or hospital provided a reasonable standard of care to a patient. Simply because a patient becomes sick or dies while under the care of a hospital or doctor does not mean that malpractice occurred. However, if doctors do fail to meet the standards for an acceptable level of care, and a patient is harmed or killed as a result, the patient or family members can sue for medical malpractice and/or wrongful death.
It can be difficult to get justice in a medical malpractice case. This is true not only because of the strict procedural requirements but also because of laws that are biased in favor of the government and health care providers However, if you or a loved one has been injured by a negligent doctor or health care professional, you should try to obtain compensation and to hold the facility or medical provider accountable.
If you are in the San Francisco area and you believe your doctor committed medical malpractice, call Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law, San Francisco medical malpractice attorney. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that doctors have a high duty of care to their patients, particularly when it comes to veterans. Veterans who have risked their lives in service to their country and have been promised health care services in return should receive a very high level of care. If a doctor at a private hospital or at the VA fails to deliver a high standard of care, he or she should be held accountable for negligence.
Call today to schedule your free appointment with Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. Micha Star Liberty works with clients throughout the Oakland – San Francisco area, including Hayward, San Jose, Berkeley, Tracy, Fairfield, and the surrounding areas.