In May 2014, we found out that at least 40 United States Armed Services veterans died waiting for medical treatment at a Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Health Care Administration facilities. On May 30, 2014, Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, resigned from office as a result of this scandal. The VA recently released an Interim Report on Patient Wait Times and Scheduling Practices. The report found that as many as 1700 veterans were kept on waiting lists. The acting VA Secretary has promised to correct these abuses.
In the meantime, the government and news journalists have attempted to find out what went wrong. Some have suggested taking medical malpractice settlements and judgments directly out of the VA’s budget. Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC attorney Jamal Alsaffar was part of this conversation and is concerned that this might only limit funding for the veterans that need the funding the most.
Unfortunately, veterans have experienced delays in care in VA’s across the United States. It’s a sad fact that this scandal merely highlights some of the abuses in care that have occurred over the years and the medical errors and mistakes that our firm sees in our VA cases on a regular basis. Some news reports have called this problem systemic. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice at the VA, you should know your rights. What you do now could affect your ability to recover benefits under the FTCA.