In 2006, a National Guard veteran who served in Iraq was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) after having witnessed the death of more than 93 civilians. He began to suffer from agitation, insomnia, anxiety and many other symptoms that plague victims of PTSD. When he lost his insurance, he turned to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), who referred him to the James H. Quillen Veterans Administration Medical Center, to continue his treatment for PTSD.
However, the VA and the Quillen facility failed to review his past psychiatric evaluations and medical records because they came from a private medical facility and misdiagnosed his PTSD as depression. Two years later, the veteran shot himself.
Military Widow Sues the VA and Quillen Facility, Runs into “Paperwork Errors”
The veteran’s widow filed a medical malpractice suit against the VA and the Quillen facility. After all, her husband complained the depression medicines were not helping, yet the Quillen facility refused to correct his diagnosis and the VA offered no help in transferring the veteran to a different medical provider.
The widow’s case failed, solely because of several paperwork errors that did not comply with the state’s medical malpractice laws. When her case came before the U.S. Court of Appeals, her attorneys questioned whether these medical malpractice laws were intended to be so unforgiving. After all, the evidence was very clear. The Quillen facility made a misdiagnosis that cost a man his life. The facts are undisputed. However, the widow’s attorney recently found legal precedent that shows cases that took place after her own case dismissal where paperwork error did not negatively affect the court’s ruling with medical malpractice cases.
Doctors Must Be Held Accountable When They Make Mistakes
In this instance, the doctors at the Quillen facility failed to review the veteran’s prior treatments, misdiagnosed him and did not respond to his concerns when the treatments did not work. This National Guard veteran served his country and his doctors failed to serve him. The facts are undisputed, so his doctors should be held accountable, despite the minor paperwork errors. If the veteran’s widow wins the appeal, it may affect how people file claims against negligent doctors and hospitals.
Stanley A. Davis is a personal injury attorney who helps victims of medical malpractice in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalms 33:20-22