Medical professionals faced retaliation from the VA coast-to-coast after blowing the whistle on errors and delays in delivering necessary medical treatment and medication to veterans, according to a report released Monday by a private watchdog group, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
The report was based on comments and complaints from over 800 current or former VA employees and veterans nationwide, indicating problems at the VA go beyond long wait times and falsified appointment records. These complaints concerned the quality of healthcare in the VA system. Since the POGO website went live in mid-May, it has received complaints form 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Examples of retaliation include:
- a Palo Alto, California pharmacy supervisor was placed on leave after complaining to superiors about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients in a nearby hospital.
- A Pennsylvania doctor was removed from clinical practice after complaining that on-call physicians refused to go to the Wilkes-Barre VA hospital.
Federal investigators are looking into 67 retaliation claims brought by whistleblowers against VA supervisors. At least 30 of those have passed the initial review and are being investigated for corrective action and/or discipline against VA supervisors.
If you think that you or a loved one suffered medical malpractice at a VA clinic or hospital, you should consult with a law firm experienced with handling VA malpractice cases under the FTCA. Our lawyers have have handled many types of medical malpractice cases from across the country at VA hospitals, including patient neglect, spinal cord injuries, and failures to diagnose infections, cancers, and other diseases. We handle many types of VA cases:
- Failure to diagnose disease/cancer
- Misdiagnosis or incorrect diagnosis of disease/cancer
- Surgical mistakes, including leaving equipment, tools, sponges, inside the body (sometimes called “foreign body” cases)
- Delay in diagnosing disease/cancer
- Failure to monitor or treat a disease or cancer
- Wrong medication prescribed or administered
- Unnecessary procedures causing injury
- Brain injury
HOW DO I SUE THE VETERANS AFFAIRS?
You cannot file suit directly against the Veterans Affairs hospital that committed the medical malpractice. Instead, you must file suit against the United States of America. Before filing suit against the United States for injuries from medical malpractice at a VA hospital, individuals must follow the strict rules of the Federal Tort Claims Act.
- You need to present a Form 95 Administrative Claim before filing suit.
- It must be filed with the correct Veterans Affairs office.
- It must state the nature of your claim and a “sum certain” for total damages claimed, and be signed or the claim is invalid.
- The Form 95 must be filed within 2 years of accrual of the negligence.
Once the Form 95 has been filed with the appropriate federal agency, then you must work with the agency to resolve your claim. There are a lot of pitfalls if you do not know what you are doing. If you cannot successfully resolve the claim administratively, you have the option of filing suit so long as you file within the appropriate limitations period. It is best to have a lawyer present your Form 95 so you can present the best possible claim. Sometimes these claims can be resolved and settled without suit being filed, and other times, lawsuits must be filed and tried to a judgment before recovery can be made.
Our attorneys have decades of trial experience and personal experience with VA attorneys. We have resolved millions of dollars of claims on behalf of veterans and are able to assist you in this process. Please contact us if you need a free evaluation of your claim.
Once you have filed your form 95, you must wait at least 6 months (maybe more depending on the course of your administrative claim) before you can file a federal lawsuit.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice at a VA hospital, call us now. If you wait too long, it may be too late.