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UPDATED: August 5, 2019

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Claims against the Veterans’ Administration (VA) are more common than you might think and comprise many different types of injuries. In a recent interview, we asked Joe Callahan, a Virginia attorney and retired naval officer who represents injured veterans and military dependants in medical malpractice claims against the veterans, to explain what types of claims are generally brought against the VA.

Examples of VA Medical Negligence

Callahan says that his firm is currently representing veterans who have suffered a wide range of injuries due to medical negligence. He provided the following examples:

  • Accidental burning during ear cauterization by VA outpatient treaters;
  • Long-term failure to effectively follow up on sarcoidosis (a disease that results from a specific type of inflammation of tissues of the body) with regular screening and surveillance x-rays;
  • Near-fatal over medications during inpatient stays;
  • Failure to diagnose thrombosis (a blood clot) resulting in leg amputation;
  • Nerve injury during blood draw.

He told us that, unfortunately, the list goes on and on and that he certainly sees a number of surgical misadventures on the part of VA healthcare providers.

The Most Common Error

The most common error that Callahan sees in care provided by the VA medical system seems to come in the form of failure to follow up suspected problems through appropriate testing and imaging. He explains:

We see patients, very sadly, falling through the cracks, either presenting with symptoms which require more aggressive follow-up than they are provided, and then appropriate diagnosis and treatment not being provided until the condition is very aggravated. This sometimes leads to amputation or to avoidable heart attacks. In some cases, it leads to death due to failure to diagnose cancer at early and addressable stages.

There are failures to follow up on ordered x-ray and CT (computed tomographic) screenings for patients who have suspicious symptoms or findings. These are just a few of the sad errors of omission which I believe occur in any large healthcare system, and the VA is obviously not immune to those kinds of mistakes.

A Firm with Heart

In Callahan’s practice on behalf of veterans, he says that they really never know what sort of malady or misfortune is going to have been suffered by the next caller. He says their hearts go out to them all. He told us, “We try our best to apply our firm’s very considerable medical malpractice evaluation expertise in determining as promptly as possible whether or not there is a valid basis for a claim, and whether the facts and the applicable law will at least allow us a reasonable chance of helping them.”

If you or a family member has been injured due to medical malpractice by the Veterans’ Administration, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of the law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and strictly confidential. To contact an experienced attorney, please click here. We may be able to help.

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