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Family of Navy Veteran Sues VA after Fatal Fall in Hospital

Ensuring the health and safety of patients often involves monitoring those patients who are in need of continuous care. Failure to monitor patients can have catastrophic consequences, as a recent lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs claims.

A Navy veteran's family is suing the VA for wrongful death and negligence.

The 72-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War underwent surgery at a VA hospital, and after the surgery he suffered a heart attack. Once he recovered, he still needed care and, according to the lawsuit, was designated a high risk for falls.

The family says the man was left unattended and unrestrained, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell in his hospital room.

The VA has denied that a breach of care led to the veteran's death.

As is typically the case, the VA conducted its own investigation, which concluded that no employee committed a wrongful act and that no breach of care led to harm. The VA has also denied the family's claim for compensation, and now litigation is expected to ensue.

This particular VA hospital is in Palo Alto, California. The facility faces a tough road ahead to repair its reputation after multiple highly publicized problems in recent years.

VA Negligence and the Federal Tort Claims Act

Military medical malpractice claims, including claims against VA hospitals, are handled differently than civilian medical malpractice claims. The pertinent law for VA negligence is the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows victims of military medical malpractice to file suit against the federal government.

To learn more about the process for these claims, please see our previous post: "Injured Due to Military Medical Negligence? Learn More about the Federal Tort Claims Act."

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