A man seeking aid for chest pain and shortness of breath was initially turned away and then later offered delayed care. Unfortunately, this person later died while waiting on medical treatment. His widow alleges that the veteran's hospital is guilty of medical negligence and has brought a lawsuit. Sadly, this issue can occur in any state, so veterans in Rhode Island may be able to learn something from this case.
After experiencing the symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath, commonly recognized as symptoms of a serious heart condition, the man attempted to schedule an appointment with a VA doctor. The VA told him to contact urgent care. The next day, he reported to the VA and was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. He was scheduled for surgery, but it would be delayed over one week.
The incident occurred around the time of a holiday, so the hospital did not have the appropriate amount of doctors available. Tragically, the man died while waiting on his surgery. The widow's lawsuit claims that the man was not advised as to how serious the condition was, and that the delayed care contributed to the man's early death.
A review of the hospital's history shows that this is not the first case of medical negligence. The location has struggled to offer enough staff to safely attend to patients, and it has also delayed care contributing to complications and death for other patients. While no lawsuit can bring a loved one back, an award for medical costs, damages and pain and suffering can help the survivors, and the penalties help ensure that a hospital improves its standard of care. In Rhode Island, people who are victims of similar mistreatment may choose to hire a lawyer to aid them in bringing the matter to court.
Source: disabledveterans.org, "Veteran Dies After Puget Sound VA Delays Routine Heart Surgery, Family Sues", Benjamin Krause, Jan. 8, 2018