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U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs pays for medical malpractice

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs paid out $940,000 in cases involving the wrongful deaths of eight patients at the Dayton, Ohio, VA Medical Center. This same clinic was also involved in allegations last year of a dentist at the clinic using improper hygiene for years, according to public records. These records show that since 2007 this southwestern Ohio medical center has been hit with 72 medical malpractice claims.

These 72 claims of medical malpractice included the eight death claims and two more claims of wrongful death are pending from 2009 and 2010. The dental clinic was involved in 22 of the 72 claims and the majority of claims were linked to the infection control issues made public in 2011. Sixteen of the claims still pending are also linked to the dental clinic and are seeking almost $6.7 million in total damages.

Amounts already paid include $275,000 settled from one lawsuit that accused the clinic of not promptly diagnosing and treating an infection in 2006 that resulted from a hip surgery. That patient died. Another family of a 68-year-old male patient received $150,000. That patient died following a liver biopsy that resulted in an internal hemorrhage after the man's wife learned his vital signs were not checked regularly by staff members in the hours before he died. Her suit claimed had they checked as they were supposed to they would have known what was going on.

Medical malpractice and claims of medical negligence involve an array of issues, including surgical and anesthesia errors, failures to diagnose diseases such as cancer and other medical conditions, as well as birth injuries and medication or prescription drug errors. Thousands of Americans are killed or injured every year because of these errors and holding medical facilities and their personnel accountable for their mistakes is an important step in protecting future patients from these same errors. A personal injury attorney could be helpful in determining if you have been harmed through the negligence of a health care provider.

The remainder of the $940,000 in payouts was used as part of a VA process that resolves malpractice tort claims similar to these. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' total payouts from litigation and administrative resolutions reached $79 million in fiscal year 2010. This includes all federal tort claims, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Source: Coshocton Tribune, "Ohio VA clinic paid $940K in cases over 8 deaths,"

March 12, 2012

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