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Army surgeon victimized by VA malpractice, awarded $3.2M

For the sacrifices they made for our country, our military servicemembers and veterans deserve the best medical care possible. So it is particularly frustrating to hear of cases where a veteran or servicemember was the victim of medical malpractice.

A longtime Army surgeon lost the use of his shoulder after undergoing an operation himself at the Phoenix VA hospital. Now he has been awarded $3.2 million in damages, to make up for no longer being able to do his job as a result of his surgeon’s negligence, ABC 15 reports.

The plaintiff went into surgery to fix his rotator cuff. During the operation, the VA surgeon unexpectedly found a tumor. The plaintiff, a spinal surgeon in the Army for 20 years, said that his surgeon should have halted the operation immediately, or taken a biopsy at the most.

Instead, the defendant surgeon dug out the tumor with his fingers, the plaintiff said. The tumor turned out to be benign.

The plaintiff found himself without full use of the affected arm, and can no longer do most of the spinal operations he used to perform. After a two-week trial, the jury in his malpractice suit agreed that the VA mishandled his case and awarded him $3.2 million in damages, all but $300,000 of which was economic damages.

The VA claimed in a letter written to the plaintiff’s attorney after the verdict that its medical team “did not negligently injury [sic] your client.”

No matter if you are a military veteran or not, everyone is entitled to medical care that falls within acceptable standards of care. Care that fails this standard can cause permanent disability, as it did in this case.

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