Showing posts with label VA lawsuit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VA lawsuit. Show all posts

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Why is the VA still forcing veterans for in person comp exams during pandemic?

KARE 11 Investigates: VA continues high-risk exams during COVID-19 crisis

KARE 11 News
A.J. Lagoe, Steve Eckert
April 3, 2020
But veterans across the country, some of them high-risk for coronavirus infection, say they’re still being ordered to attend in-person benefits exams with VA contractors.
ST PAUL, Minn — “I was told I needed to go into New York City next week to get an in-person benefits exam,” said a 30-year-old Stamford, Connecticut Army Veteran. “I said, ‘I can’t do that for obvious reasons.’”

That veteran spoke on-camera and on-the-record but asked not to be named over fears it would negatively impact his benefits claim. He’s part of a new lawsuit that states the Department of Veterans Affairs is risking veterans’ lives during the COVID-19 crisis by forcing veterans to attend pension exams or risk losing their benefits.

“It’s an unnecessary risk,” said attorney Harold Hoffman who filed the lawsuit against the VA. “It’s not just risky, there is no reason for the risk!” he added.

In order to limit coronavirus exposure for vulnerable veterans, the Veterans Benefits Administration closed its 56 regional offices, including the St. Paul office on March 19th.
read it here

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

VA Employees not getting hazardous duty pay during pandemic

VA Workers Sue for Hazardous Duty Pay During Pandemic
By Richard Sisk
30 Mar 2020
There was no immediate response from the VA to the lawsuit. As of Saturday, the VA had reported a total of more than 770 confirmed cases of coronavirus among veterans nationwide and at least 16 deaths.

Visitors stroll through a long, glass-walled corridor that connects a dozen buildings at the new Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora, Colo., after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hospital on July 21, 2018. The $1.7 billion medical center replaces an aging and crowded facility in Denver. (AP Photo/Dan Elliott)
The union representing more than 260,000 civil service employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs filed a lawsuit Monday, claiming they are owed hazardous duty pay of 25% above their typical salaries for working during the coronavirus epidemic that has infected more than 770 veterans nationwide.

The suit, by the American Federation of Government Employees filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., also included plaintiffs from the Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Agriculture and said they also were entitled to hazardous duty pay under sections of the U.S. Code.

In addition, the lawsuit alleged that "there are likely thousands of other federal employees who have been exposed to the coronavirus while performing their official duties and are entitled to hazard pay pursuant to federal law."

"It is our hope that the government does right by these employees and pays them the hazardous duty pay they've earned," AFGE National President Everett Kelley said in a statement announcing the filing of the suit.
read it here

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Wrongful Insulin Injection ruled homicide at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center

Veteran Affairs Sued Over Westmoreland County Veteran’s Death From Wrongful Insulin Injection

CBS Pittsburgh
March 3, 2020
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges an unnamed employee who administered the injection was not qualified to be a nursing assistant and that hospital staff failed to take appropriate action to stop the employee from giving the shots.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A woman is suing the federal government over the 2018 death of her father from a wrongful insulin injection at a West Virginia veterans hospital.

Melanie Proctor filed the lawsuit Monday against Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. It details a “widespread system of failures” at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg that led to the death of her father, former Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott.

Federal prosecutors have said they are probing the deaths of up to 11 patients at the hospital.

Proctor’s lawsuit said McDermott, 82, was admitted to the hospital for shortness of breath and concern for food aspiration pneumonia on April 6, 2018. He was placed on antibiotics. He had no medical history of diabetes and there was no order for insulin to be administered to him.

An autopsy performed more than six months later at an air base in Dover, Delaware, determined McDermott had received an insulin injection and his death was ruled a homicide, the lawsuit said.

read it here

Friday, February 21, 2020

$8.2 million claim against VA after veteran son’s suicide

Mother files $8.2 million claim against VA after veteran son’s suicide

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
By Jeremy Redmon
February 20, 2020

The mother of a U.S. Navy Reservist who killed himself outside the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin last year has filed an $8.2 million wrongful death claim against the Veterans Affairs Department.

Rhonda Wilson said a VA doctor abruptly stopped refilling an opioid painkiller prescription for her 28-year-old son, Gary Pressley, causing him to go into a painful withdrawal.

Pressley shot himself to death in the hospital parking lot on April 5, one of three veterans who, over a five-day span, committed suicide outside of VA facilities. One died outside the main entrance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur the next day. Three days later, a veteran killed himself in front of hundreds of people in a waiting room at a VA clinic in Austin, Texas.
read it here
Original Report

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Lawsuit filed against the VA after female West Point Cadet committed suicide

Family of former West Point cadet who died by suicide alleges death resulted from Portland VA Medical Center’s negligent health care

The Oregonian
By Maxine Bernstein
Jan 14, 2020
Before she got the medication from the VA hospital, Darneille never expressed thoughts of self-harm, according to the suit. She remained positive and had plans to become a pilot, her family said.
Emylee Therese Darneille, a 24-year-old Lewis and Clark College graduate, died by suicide on July 5, 2015, in Seville, Spain. Her mother has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, alleging "medical negligence'' contributed to Darneille's death.

A 24-year-old woman who injured her ankle as a West Point Military Academy cadet ended her life due to medical negligence after she was treated at Portland’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center for chronic pain and associated anxiety, her family alleges in a federal lawsuit.

Emylee Darneille was discovered dead in Spain on July 5, 2015, two months after she was prescribed an anti-depressant called fluoxetine, a generic form of Prozac, at the medical center. She had seriously injured her ankle as a cadet in 2008 and over the next seven years developed a complex regional pain syndrome marked by prolonged severe pain. She underwent numerous surgeries and physical therapies.

Darneille quickly began experiencing suicidal symptoms and reported them to her doctors repeatedly, the suit alleges.

Darneille’s mother, Cherylee Bridges, contends that her daughter’s suffering and death resulted from “negligent health care” provided at the VA hospital. She’s seeking $5 million in compensation for the family’s grief, anguish and loss in a wrongful death suit filed against the U.S. government.

The suit alleges the medical center failed to manage Darneille’s medication, investigate the cause of her increased suicidal thoughts or give her appropriate care.
read it here

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Leavenworth VA Hospital sexually molested veterans win in court

U.S. Pays $7 Million To Veterans Who Were Sexually Molested At The Leavenworth VA Hospital

DEC 13, 2019
Dan Curry, a Kansas City lawyer who represented the veterans, said the $6.97 million settlement has been apportioned among the 82 plaintiffs. A former Jackson County judge, Jay Daugherty, determined how much each veteran received.

Eighty-two veterans who were sexually abused by a former physician assistant at the VA hospital in Leavenworth have settled their lawsuits against the government for nearly $7 million.
One of his earliest victims committed suicide not long after the VA police interviewed him about Mark Wisner. This was years before Wisner physically assaulted more than 90 veterans. Someone needed to connect the dots.”
Mark Wisner was convicted of sexual battery and sexual assault. CREDIT ATCHISON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER
The physician assistant, Mark Wisner, was convicted in 2017 of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated criminal sodomy and sentenced to 15 years and seven months in prison.

At his jury trial, four former patients at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center testified that Wisner had groped and molested them while giving them physical exams.

Dozens of lawsuits filed by his victims alleged the U.S. government, which operates the VA hospital, knew or should have known that Wisner was a danger to patients, had a history of providing improper medical care and had previously victimized patients.

One of those lawsuits said Wisner had been convicted of a sex-related crime in 1987 and had been reported for sexually inappropriate conduct by a Kansas nurse in 1999. It also said he was the subject of complaints by VA patients in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
read it here

Thursday, September 12, 2019

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims says veterans get money back for emergency care

Court rules VA must pay for veterans' emergency room care, a decision that may be worth billions

NBC News
By Courtney Kube, Mosheh Gains and Adiel Kaplan
September 10, 2019

"All of this is unacceptable," said an appeals court in a decision that plaintiffs' attorneys say may yield up to $6.5 billion for veterans.
A doctor checks a patients prosthetic arm at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Diego, Calif., in 2007. Charles Ommanney / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs must reimburse veterans for emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, a federal appeals court ruled Monday — a decision that could be worth billions of dollars to veterans.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims said the VA has been wrongfully denying reimbursement to veterans who sought emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, and struck down an internal VA regulation that blocked those payments.

"All of this is unacceptable," said the ruling, which ordered the VA secretary to "readjudicate these reimbursement claims."

Plaintiffs' lawyers say that based on past estimates by the VA, the department is now on the hook for between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion in reimbursements to hundreds of thousands of veterans who have filed or will file claims between 2016 and 2025.
read it here

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blue Water Veterans urged to get claims in ASAP

Senate Passes Blue Water Navy Bill, Cementing Victory for Ill Vietnam Veterans
By Patricia Kime
13 Jun 2019
"If they get their claim in, it may be grandfathered," Wells said. "If you were on a ship, especially a carrier that served on the fringe of the territorial sea, it's imperative that they get their claim in now."

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11) steams in the South China Sea on Sept. 13, 1966, with aircraft of Attack Carrier Air Wing 10 (CVW-10) parked on the flight deck. CVW-10 was assigned to the Intrepid for a deployment to Vietnam from April 4 to Nov. 21, 1966. V.O. McColley/Navy

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to extend disability benefits to veterans who served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam, signaling the end of a decades-long fight for these former sailors and Marines to receive compensation for diseases presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used during the Vietnam War.

Following similar approval by the House last month, the Senate vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The legislation could affect up to 90,000 veterans, although Retired Navy Cmdr. John Wells, an attorney with Military Veterans Advocacy who represented Alfred Procopio Jr., the plaintiff in the case decided in January, said the way the bill is written may limit awards, excluding as many as 55,000 service members, including many assigned to aircraft carriers that operated farther out to sea.
read more here

Monday, September 24, 2018

Family pleads with VA employees to step forward after veteran's suicide

Family of soldier who took own life asks VA whistle-blowers to come forward
AZ Family
Lindsey Reiser
September 24, 2018
The 2016 letter specifically mentioned Castaneda, among other veterans, saying the Phoenix VA failed him by not checking on him. "He was considered such a high risk that they were supposed to be having someone check on him at his home, and apparently they weren't not checking on him all the time," Smith said.
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona's Family has been covering problems at the Phoenix VA for years. We told you in 2016, whistle-blowers wrote a letter alleging serious problems there.

Now, the family of one of the veterans mentioned in that letter is making a plea, asking those whistle-blowers to come forward to give them closure.

Three years after Army Ranger Antouine Castaneda took his own life, his mother-in-law, Margaret Smith, said they are still searching for answers. And she said her granddaughters ask questions about their dad.
read more here

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Kansas City VA found liable for Iraq veteran committing suicide

Court Slaps VA With Damages After Finding It Liable In Suicide Of Kansas City Veteran
All Things Considered
Dan Margolis
July 3, 2018
On St. Patrick’s Day, 2010, after arguing with his girlfriend, Draughon shot and killed himself in front of his girlfriend and brother. He was 28 years old.

Cpl. William Draughon in his Marine Corps Blue Dress uniform.
After finding the Veterans Health Administration liable earlier this year for the suicide of an Iraq war veteran, a federal judge has awarded more than $480,000 to his father and two children.

In what was thought to be one of the few verdicts of its kind, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled in February that the negligence of the VA directly contributed to the death of Cpl. William Draughon of Kansas City.

Draughon was a squad leader and gunner in Iraq for seven months in 2004 before he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.

After he returned to the Kansas City area, he began drinking heavily and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. During one of several hospitalizations at the Kansas City VA, he’d been flagged as being at high risk for suicide. Although no risk assessment was done, a suicide prevention coordinator at the hospital removed the high-risk flag from his electronic medical records 90 days later.
read more here

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

1.3 million wrongly charged veterans eligible for refunds

VA payments to wrongly charged veterans begin; Up to 1.3 million veterans eligible
Cherokee Tribune and Ledger News
Thomas Hartwell
May 1, 2018
According to Jim Lindenmayer, director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program and American Legion 9th District service officer, at least 750,000 veterans who received emergency care from non-VA medical centers and were billed through Medicare Part A or other insurance programs are eligible for reimbursement. He said there may be up to 1.3 million veterans affected by the Staab case going back several years.
BALL GROUND – After a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ruled unanimously last year that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly charged VA-enrolled veterans millions in emergency medical bills, the government entity has begun to pay partial claims. Local veteran advocates say there are many Cherokee veterans who could be eligible for reimbursement.

The VA lost its fight in the Staab vs. Shulkin case (originally filed as Staab vs. McDonald) in April 2016. Air Force veteran Richard Staab served from 1952-1956 and was forced to use non-VA emergency care in 2010 when he had a heart attack and underwent open heart surgery. Medicare covered a portion of his $48,000 bill, but the VA medical center in St. Cloud, Minnesota denied his request for the reimbursement of the remainder. Staab filed a notice of disagreement in May 2012.

Until January the appeals court decision benefitted only Staab, but the VA has since revised a rule that allows payment of hundreds of thousands of claims like Staab’s.
read more here

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dying Vietnam Navy Veteran Wants Justice...and deserves it

Misdiagnosed veteran contends military medical records are missing
WFLA 8 News
Steve Andrews
April 13, 2018

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) - From his bed at Florida Hospital North Pinellas in Tarpon Springs, Navy veteran Lonnie Kilpatrick has a message for the new secretary of the VA about spending money the right way.

"It's more important to take care of your veterans than it is to get approval for a bridge to nowhere," Lonnie said.

Arthritis the VA treated in Lonnie's back during the last four years turned out to be kidney cancer.

"Stage four, nothing they can do for me," explained Lonnie. "Make me comfortable, you know, maybe give me some drugs that will make me live a little longer."

This week, another blow.

The VA turned down his claim for Agent Orange disability benefits.
read more here

Sunday, January 7, 2018

VA Lawsuit: Tacoma VA

A Tacoma veteran died waiting for heart surgery from the VA. His family has sued

The News Tribune
Alexis Krell
January 7, 2017

He was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a hereditary narrowing of his aortic valve. The VA put him on a surgical wait list to get a new one, and then sent him home. He learned June 24 that his surgery would be July 5. On July 1, he died at home.

A Tacoma veteran who needed a new heart valve died after a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center waited too long to do his surgery, his widow’s lawsuit says.
George Walker was 75 when he died at home July 1, 2016 — days before he was scheduled for surgery at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, and a little more than a week after doctors knew he needed the operation, the complaint says.
“They absolutely shouldn’t have sent him home,” said attorney Jessica Holman Duthie, who represents the family.
After Walker’s death, his wife found paperwork that shows he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal in 1967 — things he didn’t talk about, she said. 
He worked for almost 30 years as the foreman of a forklift shop at a Seattle warehouse, where his blue coveralls and white beard earned him the nickname Papa Smurf.
read more here

Friday, December 1, 2017

VA Doctor "Unaware of Patient's History" Seriously?

Investigators: Colorado veteran died after getting painkillers
The Denver Post
Dan Elliott Associated Press
November 30, 2017

DENVER — A Colorado man suffering from chronic pain died two days after he obtained methadone with a prescription from a Veterans Affairs Department doctor, government investigators said Thursday, but they could not determine whether the drug contributed to his death.
The VA inspector general, an internal watchdog agency, said the patient at the Grand Junction veterans hospital was in his 60s and had a history of heart and lung problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned that methadone’s side effects may include irregular heartbeat and shallow breathing.
The doctor told investigators he was aware of the patient’s history and knew about the possible side effects of methadone, but the patient had taken the drug before and his heart and lung problems were stable.
read more here

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Threat of Suicide Not Taken Seriously by VA?

Marine veteran sues VA Medical Center, Congressman Phil Roe over opioid tapering policy

Johnson City Press
Becky Campbell
November 24, 2017 
"According to Rose, one of the specific VA guidelines he finds to be disturbing was that “doctors should not take the threat of suicide seriously when a veteran is placed on a forced taper or denied pain medications.”

Robert Rose, a disabled veteran, turned his back on Congressman Phill Roe July 3, 2017 in an act of protest against the "opioid safety initiative."
A Washington County man who said he endures constant pain from training injuries he suffered while serving as a Marine filed a lawsuit earlier this month over a forced opioid tapering policy that eliminates or severely reduces veterans’ access to the pain medication.

Robert D. Rose Jr., of Gray, was a Marine sergeant when he left the service because of documented injuries he suffered during jump training. Rose made a public protest statement in July when he turned his back on U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, at a plaque presentation commemorating historic buildings at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home. Rose has taken his protest a step further with a federal lawsuit against Roe and 17 VA Medical Center employees, including the director, doctors, nurses and police officers.
After Roe’s speech in July, Rose told his story to Press reporter Brandon Paykamian.
read more here 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Family of Jason Simcakoski Gets Justice...Finally

Justice moved slowly. VA was found at fault back in 2015 after an investigation.

$2.3 million settlement filed in veteran's death at Tomah VA

WMTV NBC 15 News
October 28, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The government has reached a $2.3 million settlement with survivors of a Marine veteran who died of a drug overdose at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah.
Court papers filed Friday say about $1.65 million would go upfront to the widow and daughter of Jason Simcakoski, of Stevens Point, who was 35 when he died in 2014. 
Another $659,000 would go into annuities for them. The rest would go to attorney fees and expenses.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Twist As Navy Veteran Sues Because VA Diagnosed Him?

$35 million lawsuit: VA mental health misdiagnosis cost KC airline pilot his job

Kansas City Star
Tony Rizzo
September 19, 2017

A Kansas City man has filed suit alleging that he lost his job as an airline pilot after Veterans Affairs doctors misdiagnosed him with bipolar disorder.

William Royster is seeking $35 million in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.
It is a refiling of a previous suit that Royster voluntarily dismissed last September.
Royster is a former U.S. Navy pilot who was injured in 1996 when his plane was shot down by a Japanese navy ship during a training exercise.
But in 2013, after a new psychiatrist took over his case and undertook a thorough review and conducted additional testing, the doctor determined that Royster should never have been diagnosed with the disorder.
read more here

Monday, August 28, 2017

Iowa Veteran Sued VA and Won

VA to pay Iowa vet $550,000 to settle suit over treatment

Associated Press
August 26, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Department of Veterans Affairs is paying an Iowa veteran $550,000 to settle his allegation that he suffered life-shortening heart damage because of a three-year delay in treatment.
John Porter, 68, of Greenfield, sued last year in federal court in Des Moines after he says VA staff overlooked a test result showing his heart was failing. Porter told the Des Moines Register on Friday he was glad he lived long enough to see the case settled.
Porter's lawsuit says he went to the emergency room of the Des Moines VA hospital in October 2011 after feeling tightness in his chest, and tests showed he might have heart problems. The lawsuit said a follow-up test three weeks later showed his heart was functioning at less than half of normal levels, indicating heart failure, but no VA doctors told Porter of the findings.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grounded Pilot Sues VA After 10 Years Medicated For What He Did Not Have

Former Navy Pilot Sues US Government over Bipolar Diagnosis
Associated Press
by Bill Draper
Oct 06, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Navy pilot has filed a $35 million lawsuit against the federal government alleging that a Veterans Affairs doctor misdiagnosed him with a mental illness that caused him to lose his ability to fly commercial airplanes and be wrongly treated for the disorder for a decade.

William Royster, 53, of Kansas City, said in the lawsuit filed Friday that a doctor at the local VA medical center diagnosed him with bipolar disorder in April 2004 and said he could not work in any capacity. The doctor also said the condition was permanent, he contends.

After he had been treated and medicated for more than 10 years for the disorder, Royster said a different psychiatrist at the medical center told him last November that he was not bipolar.

"From the review of the records, he (Mr. Royster) never had any manic symptoms and he never met the criteria for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. ... Thus in my professional opinion, I do not believe that Mr. Royster has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder," Dr. Shreeja Kumar wrote on Nov. 18.

Royster was flying a fighter jet on a training mission associated with Desert Storm on June 4, 1996, when he was shot down, the lawsuit says. He was injured when he ejected from the jet and honorably discharged from the Navy that November.
read more here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

PTSD Veteran Run Over In Phoenix Sues VA

Phoenix News Times
Cooper in the hospital after being found in a puddle of blood following the hit-and-run. Attorney Gregory Patton
A mentally-ill, former marine sniper is suing the Veterans Administration and the Carl Hayden VA Medical Center for $15 million after getting run over two years ago following his discharge from the facility.

Jason Cooper, 41, a California man who served in the Marine Corps for 11 years before his honorable discharge in 2002, still suffers from the traumatic injuries received in the collision, his lawyer tells New Times.

A skull fracture left his brain injured, reducing his ability to speak. He can walk only with the assistance of a cane.

His story reflects not only the bad state of affairs at the Carl Hayden facility and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system before serious problems were first exposed last year by CNN but also the difficulty of long-term care for schizophrenic patients.
Computer information showed Cooper was listed as a missing person. The officer called Thumbelina Hinshaw, a VA psychiatric nurse who acted as Cooper's caregiver. She told him to take Cooper to the nearest VA facility. Cops escorted Cooper in handcuffs into the Carl Hayden center at Seventh Street and Indian School Road.

Hinshaw then contacted officials at the facility and told them not to discharge Cooper because he was a danger to himself and might "get run over by a car," says a notice of claim filed against the VA in December. She told them she'd leave for Phoenix immediately to pick up Cooper.

At 11:09 p.m., the VA hospital "discharged Mr. Cooper to the street," records state.

Cooper was found six hours later in the middle of Indian School Road, just west of Seventh Street, "unconscious and near death, lying in a fetal position in the middle of the street with tire marks over his body in a puddle of blood..."
read more here