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Soldier's family sues VA for hospital negligence

Medical malpractice claims can be very complex, particularly in cases in which the exact cause of the injury or death may have been multiple factors. From drug interactions to unintended consequences of surgery, Maryland patients should know the risks of undergoing a surgery and be aware of adverse events that could be a sign of malpractice.

A recent case of a former soldier who went to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center for chronic back problems illustrates this issue. The soldier wanted to fix the problem so that he could pursue a career in law enforcement. While in the care of the VA, he underwent multiple surgeries for his back problem but nothing worked. The last surgery involved the implant of an electronic stimulator. The soldier was never fully relieved of the pain he experienced in his back.

The soldier expected to stay in the hospital following the surgery, but to his surprise he was released the next day despite still having severe back pain. He told his roommate that he didn't think he was well enough to leave, and she tried to monitor his situation overnight. Unfortunately she checked on him early in the morning to find that he had died.

The medical examiner concluded that the man had died of an acute mixed drug intoxication involving his prescription medications." The medical examiner also concluded that sleep apnea may have been a contributing factor in the man's death.

Wrongful death lawsuits particularly those involving accusations of medical malpractice are about more than money, they are about holding people responsible for their mistakes. In many cases there is simply no justification for medication errors, particularly those that end in fatal results. Because of this it is important to speak out if someone is injured due to a doctor's errors or a hospital's negligence. It is the only way to make the system safer.

Source: Desert News, "VA hospital killed former soldier with excessive painkillers, lawsuit says" Dennis Romboy, October 17, 2012

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