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VA hospitals hired doctors with malpractice histories, convictions

He had settled more than two dozen medical malpractice claims and settlements across a pair of states. The allegations against the neurosurgeon included claims that his surgical errors left one patient paralyzed from the waist down after improper placement of a device in the man's spinal canal. In another case, he reportedly inserted spinal screws incorrectly and left the patient without bladder or bowel control.

When the surgeon applied at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, he was upfront about his decidedly mixed past, noting on his job application the malpractice cases and that his license had been revoked in Wyoming (though his license to practice in Montana was still valid). The VA hired him anyway, a USA Today report reveals.

And his already disturbing track record has several new entries on it, the newspaper reported recently. In one case, he had to perform a follow-up surgery after an earlier opertion resulted in a lumbar infection.

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that the VA's hiring of the surgeon with a checkered malpractice past is not an isolated case. An Oklahoma Va hospital knowingly hired a psychiatrist previously sanctioned for sexual misconduct -- the shrink later had sex with a VA patient, the article states.

A Louisiana VA hospital knowingly hired a psychologist with several felony convictions, only to fire him after concluding that he was a "direct threat" to people at the hospital.

A VA spokesperson told the newspaper that the agency would investigate whether doctors had been improperly hired and will take "prompt removal action" in cases involving improperly hired physicians.

The newspaper's investigation is yet another confirmation that far too often the VA is more interested in expediency and cutting costs than it is in patient safety.

An attorney who represents clients in VA medical malpractice across the nation can help determine your legal options and help you protect your rights and health.

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