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Vet awarded $8.3 million after brain injury and leg amputation

Massachusetts veterans who rely on the VA for their medical care may be interested to learn that a veteran won $8.3 million from John Cochran VA medical center after he suffered from brain damage and a leg amputation following a routine procedure. The verdict was handed down on Nov. 18 following a two-day trial in October.

According to the lawsuit, the 43-year-old veteran underwent surgery in February 2009 to have a cardiac stent inserted. However, the man developed bleeding and swelling in his right upper thigh at the surgical site. When a second surgery was performed soon after to repair an artery at the surgical site, an infection was discovered.

Attorneys for the veteran accused the hospital of unnecessarily delaying the corrective surgery. In addition, they also accused surgeons of using infected tissue when they repaired the artery. The veteran ultimately suffered a severe brain injury due to significant blood loss, which left him paralyzed and unable to communicate. The man's right leg also became gangrenous and required an amputation.

The U.S. District Judge who presided over the case split the award, giving $6.8 million to the veteran and $1.5 million to his wife, who is his caregiver. They hope to move into a wheelchair accessible home.

When patients are admitted into the hospital for surgery, they expect their doctors to take excellent care of them. However, hospital and surgical errors could result in severe injuries or even death. Someone who suffers serious injuries due to botched medical procedures or unnecessary procedures may be eligible to seek compensation from the hospital by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In addition to hospital expenses, they may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish and for potential future medical costs associated with the injury.

Source: St. Louis Today, "St. Louis man wins $8.3 million malpractice award against John Cochran VA hospital", Blythe Bernhard, November 19, 2013

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