Saginaw VA Medical Center health care providers failed to adequately monitor a patient’s blood thinner medication and testing, which resulted in his blood becoming too thin and his risk for bleeding much higher than normal. When our client presented to the Saginaw, Michigan VA, his INR (blood clotting test) value was abnormally high. Despite his high INR value, it was not checked again during repeated subsequent visits to the VA facility. The patient fell at his home and hit his head, suffering a brain bleed that his doctors could not operate on because his bleeding risk was too high for surgery. Due to injuries sustained from the fall, he developed progressive neurological deterioration. He was put on life support, and died shortly after. He was an active man who led a busy life with his family. Our clients received $425,597. Other case fees include $143,750 for attorneys’ fees and $5,652 in litigation expenses.

Preventable Death

Unfortunately, this was a preventable death. Our client had been put on blood thinners since being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. The standard of care requires the dosage of blood thinner medication to be closely monitored with timely INR testing. Our client was compliant with his treatment regimen. He was careful and responsive to INR testing levels. On the other hand, U.S. Government healthcare providers at the Michigan VA facility knew our client was a fall risk. When he complained about dizziness upon standing, they told him to avoid standing too quickly. Knowing he was a fall risk—and knowing that his INR was steadily increasing—medical providers should have re-checked Mr. LaFontaine’s INR and implemented a different and closely monitored treatment plan to stabilize his INR, but they failed to do so.