A federal medical malpractice wrongful death case involving the Phoenix VA Medical Center was filed on April 30, 2015 by the widow of an Army veteran who committed suicide three days after being advised that his colon cancer had metastasized to his lungs and that his condition was terminal. The day after the veteran used his own gun to commit suicide, the man’s widow was called by the VA and told that the terminal lung cancer diagnosis was wrong.
The veteran was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010. He was advised that his life expectancy was five to six years if he received proper medical care. The federal medical malpractice wrongful death claim alleges that the man received too much radiation while undergoing cancer treatment that resulted in lung problems and a decreased immune system.
The man’s wife experienced much difficulty in scheduling her husband’s required doctors’ appointments at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, allegedly because no appointment slots were available, which resulted in her husband having to go to the Emergency Department of the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center on multiple occasions. The man’s colon cancer symptoms became so bad in 2011 that he showed up without an appointment at the VA’s pain clinic but allegedly was told to go home because he did not have a referral from his primary care physician.
The man and his wife decided to try to live life to its fullest and therefore planned a dream trip to Hawaii in 2012. However, the day before the scheduled Hawaii vacation, the man experienced shortness of breath for which he was admitted to the Phoenix VA Medical Center. A lung procedure was allegedly performed negligently at the hospital, allowing fluid to enter the man’s lung.
The following day (October 5, 2012), the man and his wife were advised that he had adenocarcinoma that had metastasized into his lungs, which meant that he had only a few weeks to live. He returned home with his wife where he was in extreme physical and mental pain the entire weekend. Having witnessed a close friend’s terrible death from terminal cancer, the man committed suicide at home on October 8, 2012 – his lifeless body was found by his wife.
The next day, the widow received a telephone call from the VA surgeon, reportedly advising her, “I have such great news for you … That fluid around the lungs is not cancer.”
The widow filed a formal claim with the VA for her husband’s wrongful death due to medical malpractice at the VA medical center, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. Her claim sought $2.5 million for her husband’s death, which the United States government denied. She subsequently filed her federal wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit that seeks compensatory damages for her emotional and economic injuries, lost wages, lost opportunity for financial gain, loss of future earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of love and affection, and for other harms (her husband was a 67-year-old construction contractor in Phoenix).
If you or a loved one may have suffered serious injuries or death as a result of medical care received through the VA (or necessary medical care that was delayed or never provided by the VA), you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who handles medical malpractice claims against the VA who may investigate your VA medical malpractice claim for you and guide you and represent you with regard to complying with the requirements regarding bringing claims against the VA for medical negligence.
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