Medical malpractice cases targeting nursing homes and VA clinics have climbed rapidly over the past decade, and lawmakers are scrambling to place caps on these types of lawsuits to reduce the overall damage to the economy — while others ask if they really have the right to limit how much compensation someone is owed, especially when the negligent party should hardly benefit from a cap (which they would).
Like most issues plaguing our country right now, the issue of whether or not to place caps on certain types of lawsuits is a largely partisan one. Democrats favor reducing or eliminating caps, while Republicans argue that caps are necessary to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits.
A Democratic United States District Court Judge recently ruled that the VA must pay Manchester, Connecticut resident Eric March a whopping $9.47 million after a routine hernia operation left him with a perforated abdomen, expensive bills, and excruciating pain.
The lawsuit read: “In June 2015, [plaintiff] was admitted to the West Haven VA hospital for a laparoscopic hernia repair procedure. In the days following his discharge from the hospital he complained of pain and a fever. He went to another hospital where a CT scan determined he had a perforated abdomen. On further investigation, a doctor discovered that March’s bowels had leaked out of the perforation in his abdomen, and he had a severe infection.”
VA doctors were not helpful during court proceedings, arguing over which doctor had actually followed up with March after the operation; Visit website here.
March’s attorney Kathleen Nastri of Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder said, “This is a veteran who had entrusted his care to the doctors at the U.S. VA and it is clear to me something went terribly wrong during the surgery.”
This isn’t the first instance of malpractice involving the VA in recent months. Vietnam War veteran Joe Marrable resided in the Eagles Nest Community Living Center to receive long-term care following a bad cancer diagnosis, only to be attacked by a colony of fire ants.
The subsequent lawsuit described the conditions in the care facility: “For months, fire ants swarmed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-run nursing home in which Marrable was a live-in patient. And the VA did little to remove the insects.”
Marrable was not the only one to come out of the facility with fire ant bites.
Family attorney Josh Sacks said, “The family is determined to raise awareness about the treatment of the veterans at these facilities and make sure that things such as this don’t happen again to any other veterans. That’s their dual goal in pursuing the claim, and I think they have a keen interest in making sure that their father, who served honorably in the Air Force, is remembered with dignity and respect.”
The family’s other attorney, Brewster Rawls, agrees: “I think it is important that the VA be accountable, and that veterans get the care they deserve and certainly the respect they deserve. When you don’t have a lot of time left, it makes it all the more precious for that person and their family.”