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Veteran files $5 million medical malpractice lawsuit for PTSD


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Sep 21, 2012 in Doctor Errors

A successful medical malpractice suit must show that the treatment provided was truly negligent as opposed to simply unsuccessful. For one Iraq war veteran, the opportunity to do so is finally at hand in the form of a $5 million medical malpractice lawsuit filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The suit was filed with a federal court in 2010 by the 34-year-old veteran and his wife, charging the VA with poor medical treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder brought about by his service experiences in 2003. In his suit, he accused a VA medical center of prescribing the wrong medications to treat his disorder.

His attorney also claims that the VA waited four months before allowing the plaintiff to speak to a PTSD-trained physician or psychiatrist, even though the medical center recommended such treatment after his initial evaluation in April 2007. Instead, the plaintiff was prescribed a drug treatment that was altered after phone conversations with nurses and physician assistants at the VA. The plaintiff's condition continued to worsen, and he was reportedly arrested for breaking into a pharmacy to steal prescription medication.

The attorney for the VA defended the handling of the plaintiff's medical case, stating that the patient had a long history of drug abuse that began before joining the military. According to the defendant's attorney, the burglary would have occurred regardless of treatment due to the plaintiff's history. The defense also claims that the plaintiff did not fully disclose the seriousness of his disorder and that the drug treatment prescribed was sufficient to treat the symptoms as presented.

Connecticut residents and people all over the country put their trust in the doctors who treat them, expecting that their health will improve, or certainly not worsen. While sometimes little can be done to treat a condition, other times doctors or other hospital staff members may have inappropriately or negligently treated a patient, which is when malpractice comes into play. In a case like this one, the line at which medical malpractice occurs can be a tricky one to define, but if that line was crossed, the veteran may be entitled to a substantial payout.

Source: PennLive.com, "Carbondale Man Seeks $5 Million In PTSD Lawsuit Against VA Medical Center," Sept. 11, 2012