October 19, 2012

The parents of a 30-year-old former U.S. Army soldier who was medically discharged from the Army following a service-related back injury have filed a federal medical malpractice lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) in Utah for his death that was allegedly due to medical malpractice committed by the VA Medical Center when it discharged him too early after back surgery on October 19, 2010 (this was his third back surgery). Despite his unstable blood oxygen level at the time of discharge, his VA doctor discharged him early from the hospital (the veteran was told that he would be in the hospital for two to three days after his back surgery that implanted a permanent stimulator into his back but instead he was discharged the day after his surgery).

The veteran reportedly expressed his objection to his surgeon about being sent home early but his surgeon allegedly told him it was better for him to be sent home earlier rather than risk acquiring a staph infection or pneumonia if he remained in the hospital as initially planned. The veteran felt that he was being discharged early so that his VA hospital bed would be available for someone else.

The veteran also told his nurse and his hospital roommate, who happened to be an emergency medical technician, that he was concerned about his premature discharge from the hospital. His roommate asked that the veteran be provided with oxygen when he was discharged and with a CPAP machine for the veteran’s use at home for his sleep apnea. The veteran was provided with neither by the VA — he was given a prescription for morphine along with seven other prescriptions for pain and migraine medications.

During the afternoon on the day after he was discharged from the VA hospital, he became ill and vomited at home but refused to be transported to the emergency room. The veteran went to sleep around 9:30 p.m. that evening and was observed by his roommate to be soundly asleep around midnight. But by 7 a.m. the next morning, the roommate discovered that the veteran was dead in his bed.

An autopsy was performed to determine the cause of the veteran’s death. The autopsy report found that he had died from an acute mixed drug intoxication involving his prescription medications.

The veteran’s parents filed the federal medical malpractice lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Utah alleging that their son’s death could have been avoided had he not been prematurely discharged form the VA Medical Center or if he was provided with oxygen, a CPAP machine, or an oxygen monitor that would have alerted his roommate to his breathing difficulties while he was sleeping.


Not all medical malpractice attorneys handle claims against the VA for medical malpractice. However, if you or a loved one suffered injuries or death as a result of possible medical malpractice that occurred at a VA hospital, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney who handles federal medical malpractice cases (medical malpractice claims against the U.S.) to assist you with your claim.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who handle federal medical malpractice claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act who may be willing to investigate your VA medical malpractice claim for you and file a federal medical malpractice claim on your behalf, if appropriate.

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