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VA Hospitals Pose Great Risk to Veterans

Steve Wagner

Iraq War veteran, Christopher Ellison, and his family were recently awarded $17.5 million in a medical malpractice case against the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2007, Ellison went to the dentist at a veterans medical center in Philadelphia to have some teeth extracted. During the procedure something went horribly wrong and Ellison subsequently suffered a stroke, leaving him incapacitated and requiring 24/7 care.

The case Ellison and his family made against the DVA included missed diagnoses, delayed treatment and procedures performed on wrong body parts. Opposing counsel argued that Ellison had a stroke because of external factors and pre-existing health conditions, but the court eventually ruled in Ellison’s favor.

The size of this award is practically unheard of among VA hospital malpractice cases, even though VA hospitals have some of the highest rates of malpractice, patient injury and death in their facilities. However, just because this award was so large, does not mean taxpayers and veterans aren’t suffering because of the negligence at these facilities. Since 2001, over $700 million in taxpayer money has been awarded to veterans suffering from malpractice and negligence issues.

House representatives believe that the DVA should be held accountable for their actions; rather than being handed large bonus checks (recently, $150 million in healthcare bonuses were given to VA-providers), they should be made aware of the damage they are causing, and be held responsible for their negligence and mistakes.


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