Failure to diagnose is one form of medical malpractice, but so is failure to inform the patient about medical test results and provide the appropriate treatment.
That was the case for a veteran who says his life was shortened because a VA hospital overlooked a test.
The test indicated heart failure, but no one told the patient.
Initially, the 68-year-old veteran went to a VA hospital emergency room in Des Moines, Iowa. He was experiencing tightness in his chest, and medical testing indicated that his heart might not be healthy.
A follow-up test was administered three weeks later, and it showed that the man's heart was working at less than half the level of a healthy heart. All signs pointed to heart failure, but doctors did not inform the patient of the findings.
Three years after the test was done, another VA hospital discovered the results.
In 2014, the man experienced severe chest pains and went to a VA hospital in Arizona. There, medical personnel discovered the test results from 2011.
Later, after reviewing the situation, a cardiologist at the Des Moines hospital wrote that overlooking the initial testing prevented the veteran from getting prompt treatment. The cardiologist said that, because of the three-year delay, he doubted much progress was possible in treating the patient.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is set to pay the veteran $550,000 to settle his lawsuit.
As we've discussed previously, the process of suing the VA for malpractice is different than the process for civil medical malpractice claims.
For more on VA medical negligence and the Federal Tort Claims Act, please see our previous post, "Understanding Your Legal Options After VA Medical Negligence."