With several decade long wars winding down, many members of the United States military are returning home to New York with a new life and major adaptations to make because of injuries sustained while in combat. Many of these people receive treatment at medical centers set up specifically for veterans in order to provide medical care to former members of the military. Unfortunately, many patients have been subjected to inadequate medical care, requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay compensaation of close to $100 for the harm done by medical malpractice to injured veterans.
Malpractice settlement totals have jumped significantly over the last twelve years as the Department is held accountable for harm inflicted on patients who received substandard care. In 2012, the settlement amount reached a twelve year high with $91.7 million in compensation paid to patients and their families.
The numbers may suggest more than a substandard level of care. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the VA has treated many younger patients who then suffer for a much longer period of time. Statistics suggest that within the next four years, more than 1 million soldiers will become veterans who are likely to rely on the VA for medical care.
In one year, the VA provided medical care for 5.6 million patients and has 152 hospitals located throughout the country. Medical malpractice lawsuits serve an important role in ensuring that those who are fighting for the country’s freedom receive the care they deserve. Holding these hospitals and doctors accountable when they chose not to meet the minimum standard of care is the least we can do for our veterans.
Source: Bloomberg, “Malpractice payouts to US veterans reach 12-year high,” Kathleen Miller, Sep. 9, 2013