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Court awards veteran $3.7 million in medical malpractice suit

When a patient goes to a doctor's office or hospital, they must rely on the expertise of the medical professionals who oversee and administer their care because the patient does not have the medical knowledge to make sure that the course of treatment is the correct one. And any Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer knows how dangerous it can be when a doctor or hospital fails in their duty to properly diagnose and treat a patient.

An Iraq-war veteran and his family were recently awarded damages of $3.7 million in a medical malpractice suit against the VA hospital that was treating the veteran. He had been treated at Wilkes-Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Four months after he began treatment, the veteran broke into a pharmacy in an attempt to steal drugs. The lawsuit attributed his behavior to the lack of appropriate care by the hospital, and alleged that the VA had improperly given him medication that led to self-medication using an addictive substance. The suit also alleged that the veteran was never seen by a doctor at the VA hospital. As a result of the hospital's actions, his condition deteriorated and he how has permanently-disabled status.

A medical malpractice claim is usually based upon hospital negligence or negligence a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse. Doctors and other medical professionals are required to conform to the generally accepted standards of care for their field and geographic area. A failure to meet these standards that causes injury to the patient can give rise to a medical malpractice claim.

The damages award for a medical malpractice claim cannot undo the injury that has occurred. However, for the veteran, the award can assist the family financially, and includes portions for lost earnings, pain and suffering as well as an award to the veteran's wife for loss of consortium.

Source: Post-Gazette.com, "Pennsylvania veteran awarded $3.7M in suit against VA," Saranac Hale Spencer, Jan. 21, 2013

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