Judge finds VA negligently treated Pennsylvania veteran's PTSD

A medical malpractice lawsuit against a Pennsylvania Veterans Affairs hospital ended recently with a verdict in favor of a veteran who is now permanently disabled after VA doctors refused to listen to his pleas for help with his post-traumatic stress disorder. The judge ruled that VA doctors negligently treated the veteran and caused him to become addicted to drugs. The details of the case are likely frustrating to anyone who believes that military veterans deserve the best possible medical treatment.

The Marine Corps veteran was discharged in February 2007 after serving in the Iraq War. Soon after, he got a civilian job, but also went to the VA hospital in Scranton seeking help for his PTSD symptoms. Though the hospital provided some treatment, he was never examined by an actual physician. Despite this, he was somehow prescribed medications that the medical malpractice suit described as addictive.

The drugs failed to help his condition and he and his wife sought treatment at least nine more times over the next four months. But no VA doctor would help him, the lawsuit said. The veteran's condition deteriorated as he became dependant on his medications. He hit bottom when he was arrested for breaking into a pharmacy to steal drugs.

Attorneys for the VA contended that the plaintiff contributed to his own disability by abusing medication and alcohol. But the judge rejected that version of events. He noted that the plaintiff was a "good patient" and only turned to self-medication after the VA refused to treat him. He awarded a total of $3.7 million in damages to the veteran and his wife for lost past and future earnings and other damages.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania veterans awarded $3.7 M in suit against VA," Saranac Hale Spencer, Jan. 21, 2013

· Our law firm provides legal help for veterans and older people who were victimized by medical malpractice. For more information, please visit our Pittsburgh medical malpractice page.

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