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Dying Veteran Awarded $2.5 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

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U.S. Army veteran Steve Cooper was awarded $2.5 million after suing the Phoenix VA Medical Center for failing to diagnose his terminal prostate cancer, according to 3TV.

In 2011, a nurse practitioner at the Phoenix VA found abnormalities on Cooper’s prostate but did not order more tests. Eleven months later, Cooper was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. His cancer is terminal.

Tragic Consequences for Long Waits

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The Phoenix VA Medical Center was at the heart of a scandal in 2014 that revealed that the facility struggled with incredibly long wait times for patients that may have contributed to “adverse health impacts” and at least one veteran’s death, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

Although neither Cooper’s attorneys nor the defense attempted to connect his case to the scandal, Cooper and his wife Rima did express their hope that Cooper’s case would change the way the VA treats its veterans.

“Making them wait months for treatment, wait months for scans, it’s not right,” Rima Cooper told 3TV. “It’s not how we should be treating our vets. We need a better system.”

The courtroom was full of veterans and supporters to hear the reading of the verdict in Cooper’s case, according to Fox 10. Other veterans have expressed a similar lack of adequate care in their dealings with the Phoenix VA Medical Center, according to 3TV.

“The veterans deserve the best quality care possible, and right now they’re not getting great quality care,” Steve told 3TV. “I’ll fight to my last breath to make sure they get private sector care. Anything less is unacceptable to us.”

When people think about medical malpractice, they often imagine one doctor or one nurse. But an entire medical facility can be held liable if the facility fails to administer a reasonable standard of care to its patients.

The OSC detailed the VA’s delays and impact on patient care, noting that “on an average day, the Phoenix VA has 1,100 patients waiting longer than 30 days for appointments.” During one week in 2015, almost 3,900 appointments were canceled, and 59 of those should have been rescheduled but never were. “Of those 59 patients, 12 may have experienced harm that could have been prevented without the delay in care,” the OSC reported.

Help from an Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor, medical professional, or medical facility, you may be a victim of medical malpractice. Call the Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Hensley Legal Group for a free case review, or contact us online.