A blind patient sued VA who left him blind. A court awarded the patient over $1.6 million. Mr. Stephan Brewington, age 42, went in for a routine procedure, with near perfect vision, to the Department of Veterans Affairs of Greater Los Angeles. He went in for a routine treatment of a branch retinal vein occlusion that affected his vision in his left eye. He was prescribed the drug Avastin. Instead of giving Mr. Brewington the prescribed medication, the VA gave him Velcade, a chemotherapy drug. This resulted in irreversible blindness in Mr. Brewington’s left eye.

Mr. Brewington, after injection of the wrong drug, suffered ocular inflammation and a migraine-type headache. At trial, Mr. Brewington reported that he continued to experience pain in his eye. He has seen medical providers in a variety of specialties, including neurology, ophthalmology, pain management, and psychiatry.

Mr. Brewington sued the VA in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California. After a bench trial, the Court awarded the following damages: $725,147.25 for future medical care that Mr. Brewington needed; $632,536 for past and future lost earnings; and $250,000 in noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering.

The Court stated, “To recover damages for future medical expenses, Mr. Brewington must prove by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the reasonable value of each of the expected future medical expenses; (2) that the future medical care, services, and supplies are reasonably certain to be needed and given in treatment of the injury; and (3) that the condition requiring the future medical care
is causally connected to the injuries inflicted by the United States.”

For 10 months prior to the Velcade injection, Mr. Brewington had not been employed as a production scheduler. The Court used his earning history and the published wage data for production schedulers in Los Angeles County to determine the lost future income.