VA Hospital Malpractice Lawsuit Settled for Wrongful Death Claim

feature photo

By: AboutLawsuits | Published: July 17th, 2009

The U.S. government has reportedly settled a VA hospital malpractice lawsuit with the wife of a veteran who died from a blood infection following a biopsy at an Illinois Veterans Affairs facility, where all major surgeries were stopped two years ago after a string of medical mistakes were discovered.

Although details of the settlement have not yet been made public, the Associated Press reports that a resolution was reached in a $10 million lawsuit filed by Darla Marshall, of Kentucky, over the death of her husband, James Marshall. In July 2007, James Marshall died from a blood infection six days after a lymph node biopsy at a VA hospital in Marion, Illinois.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that Marshall’s death was caused by negligent medical treatment provided by Jose Veizaga-Mendez, who has been linked to a number of medical malpractice claims.

The VA began investigating problems at the Illinois medical center in 2007, after a rash of surgery deaths occurred between October 2006 and March 2007. More than 30 cases at the facility were reviewed by the VA and at least nine deaths were linked to substandard care. Management at the hospital has been referred to as “dysfunctional and inefficient.”

All surgeries at the VA hospital were halted nearly two years ago. Although minor surgical procedures are again under way at the center, there is no estimation for when, or if, doctors there will be allowed to perform major surgeries.

Last year, another VA wrongful death lawsuit filed over a surgery mistake at the Illinois hospital was settled by the government for $975,000. Katrina Shank, also of Kentucky, settled her malpractice lawsuit for the 2007 death of her husband, Robert Shank III, who bled to death after gallbladder surgery. Shank was also operated on by Veizaga-Mendez, who resigned three days after his death.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has also faced substantial criticism over the quality of medical treatment provided at other medical clinics in multiple states. Investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported last month that a cancer unit at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center mishandled nearly 100 cases involving radiation treatment and suggested that staff involved had altered records to cover mistakes. The VA is also still dealing with the fallout from colonoscopy problems at VA centers in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, where contaminated equipment exposed thousands of veterans to hepatitis, HIV and other blood borne diseases. Lawmakers blasted the VA in a hearing last month for the repeated lapses in veteran care.

Veizaga-Mendez, who was not named in either of the VA hospital malpractice lawsuits, had his license to practice medicine suspended indefinitely. The complaints alleged that the VA failed to properly investigated Veizaga-Mendez’s medical record.

Before working at the Illinois VA Hospital, Veuzaga-Mendez was investigated for alleged malpractice in seven Massachusetts cases in 2004 and 2005, two of which resulted in death.

Tags: , , , , , ,

There Are 8 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. I’m interested in hearing from others who have suffered from eye surgery in the tenn. V A clinics in Tenn. . as I.

  2. Hello I am writiing this for anybody who has suggestions. My father died 19months ago in a V.A hospital due to complications of foot surgery. My family and I know in our hearts that it was due to a medical malpractice and don’t know where to go from here. We have sought the advice of an attorney whom said we do have a case after seeking the advice of nurses and his medical staff whom reviewed my fathers case this lawyer was unable to take our case having others to deal with. In Arizona there arent to many lawyers who want to deal with the 25% and suing the federal government. When I belive the real issue is care for our veterans who have served for our country.

  3. I would contact the ACLU, with them already suing the West LA VA Butcher shop. As much as I hate the ACLU they should be large enough to find enough people complaining about their surgical errors.

    In my case it was janet Han’s team failed to properly sedate me for a pace maker installed and I felt 5 distinct cuts. Bonnie Rush, a nurse lies, telling my only one cut was made, telling me I can no longer have x-rays.
    From March 3rd thru July 21 I was complaining something was wrong when Dr. yamato pushed me out of his office door and said nothing can be wrong because i have a pacemaker and nitro tablets.

    My 3rd trip to an emergency room not ran by the VA, brought me back to an old friend who found out that the VA had make a mistake installing one stint and completely missed a place where a stint was missing.

    Imagine my last of surprise when their board of “inquiry” found no wrong doing and Bonnie Rush didn’t lie the 5 times I caught her.

  4. My brother went to the N. Chicago, Il VA emerg. rm on 2 August of 2009 complaining of hip and leg pain.Within 24 hours of his (unknown to anyone) admission to the hospital, he was pronounced Dead! Although he had no signs of heart problems during his unauthorized autospy (VA doctor conducted), they claimed that he died because his heart did not beat properly?
    He was only 50 years old…

  5. My husband was over hydrated I beleive twice as he was dehydrated. the first ime was in January of 2009 . He had sciatic nerve pain and they put him on tylnol with codine. Well he got very sick from this so they said to give him plain tynol which I did and this also made him sick . this caused the dehydration. I took him to VA and they admitted him and started the hydration IV.. After a few days he was rushed to a private hospital. A cardologist told me there that they thought he had a stroke but he said he did not. but at some time he had a heart attact. After this he lost his memory. I was worried as he was on warfarin and thought he might be bleeding in the brain. No one relly was cincerned in the Va hospital. He never did get much better but stated having trouble with sweellin with water. which they said was congestive heart failure His memory went an
    the secnd time he had flue and got dehydrated. We went to his primary care doctor and he said he could sit in office for three hours or go in to hospital for IV hydration. this was on Friday and they kept him all weekend and on tuesday morning I called to see how he was and if I should come get him. No one would give me an answere so i drove up to see what was going on. they had him ready to go in the ambulance to a private hospital. I followed the ambulance down and was in emergency room while they were working on him. His blood was so thined down that they said he would have gotten bumped on the way down he would have bleed to death. He was addmitted to the hospitl and they told me he might not make it, The two doctors that took care of him there said they had put the fluid in too fast and it was not monitored. the heart and kidneys could not handle it. after this he got water around lungs and would get large water blisters on legs. I believe they killed him and were trying to cover it up. I think there have been a lot of uncalled for deaths in VA hospitals. I had autopsy done but they did not do any blood work . He also develoed a antibiotic infection which they were trating with an antibiotic. when i attempted to take him out and to a private hospital I was threatened with arrest, I did have power of attorny.

  6. STAY OUT THE VA HOSPITALS

  7. my husband died last october . persian war veteran, honorably served his country for 23 years, now dead at the age of 43…..i have lost total trust in the VA and all doctors whom work for the VA. MY husband had said at one time, i served my country and they promised me free healthcare

  8. The nurse forgot to turn my husband oxygen on. he had to be induced in a coma, when he came out of the coma, he had short term memony and he can not walk without assistance, he can’t bath or cook for hiself’ he will never work a job again, along with begin on oxygen for the rest of his life. and to many health prombles to name. He was given two hours to live, then six months, the va kicked him out of rehab, not begin able to walk.

Post Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published and will be confidential.
  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.