Regular readers of our San Antonio legal blog might remember that back in July we shared the story of a veteran struggling with pain and the VA. Marine vet Brian Tully was misdiagnosed by a doctor at a VA hospital, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected his medical malpractice claim, though it acknowledges that the physician made mistakes.
The VA says it can legally reject the vet’s malpractice claim because the doctor he saw was an independent contractor and not a VA physician. A loophole in the law allows the federal agency to dodge responsibility for a misdiagnosis that has resulted in permanent injury and debilitating pain for a man who honorably served his country.
Now the vet is fighting back. He has written a law that will protect veterans in similar situations. The Tally Bill “will protect veterans from independent contractors that are working within the VA,” he said recently.
According to a news report, Tally is in Washington DC lobbying congressional representatives and VA officials to support his bill so that other service members can avoid his fate.
When he went to a California VA hospital with pain, a doctor there assured him it was nothing more than a back sprain. As it turned out, an undiagnosed infection “was eating away at his bones,” a news report states.
When Tully filed a claim, the VA “effectively blew him off,” his attorney said.
The Marine is understandably angry and frustrated with the agency’s refusal to do what’s right. “To this point, there has been no accountability and no justice,” Tully said. "My family and I have been through hell. I have built up enough courage to stand up and to fight for what is right.”
Let’s hope that his fight for justice gets the congressional support it deserves.
Those who have been misdiagnosed or otherwise suffered from doctor or VA hospital negligence should contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice litigation.