Since 9/11, VA Has Made Payments in Nearly 1,000 Wrongful Death Claims
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2014 – In the decade after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made more than $200 million in payments to settle nearly 1,000 wrongful death claims.
According to VA data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the payments have been made to the families of veterans who died as the result
of misdiagnoses, neglect, suicide, botched surgeries and other negligence. “It is a tragedy any time a person’s death is caused by another’s negligence, but the government has a special responsibility to provide care for those who have given so much to their country,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago wrongful death attorney.
The deaths include a veteran who overdosed on morphine in a Louisiana VA psychiatric unit, a veteran who died of an infection after an enema administered at a VA hospital in Marion, Illinois, and a veteran who was paralyzed and later died after falling in a bathroom at a VA nursing home in Nebraska.
In Illinois, the Marion VA Medical Center paid out $7.7 million in wrongful death settlements for the deaths of 25 veterans — more than any other VA hospital
in the country in the ten years after 9/11. One doctor, Jose Veizaga-Mendez, was linked to at least 10 of the deaths. The Marion VA hired Veizaga-endez while state authorities in Massachusetts were investigating him in connection with the deaths of two patients there.
One veteran died under Veizaga-Mendez’s care after he went into septic shock following a lymph node biopsy. Another died after his spleen ruptured during surgery after a fall, and a third bled to death following gall bladder surgery. The VA has since fired Veizaga-Mendez, and his license to practice medicine has been revoked in Massachusetts, Illinois and New York.
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