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VA medical facility in Tampa sued for wrongful death

Attending to patients' needs is arguably the main priority of all hospitals, including those who care for military veterans. One Veterans Affairs facility in Tampa, however, has been accused of failing to properly treat a patient's gastrointestinal disorder, a failure that led to his death.

According to a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the man's widow and three children, the Navy veteran's death from colon cancer in February 2013 was a case of medical malpractice. The 64-year-old man allegedly suffered treatment delays at the C. W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in Tampa. The lawsuit against the hospital also names several facilities that supervise the care provided by the Veterans Administration in Florida. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants unreasonably delayed the patient's treatment for colon cancer.

The lawsuit claims the hospital failed to inform the veteran about a positive fecal occult blood test in 2008. A positive result means the patient needs more testing to locate the source of bleeding. The patient was not informed about the positive result, even after he went back to the hospital for his April 2009 and April 2011 annual checkups.

The colon cancer was diagnosed after the veteran saw a different doctor in 2011. The cancer metastasized and spread to different organs in his body, leading to his death.

In December 2012, the hospital told the patient that his care and treatment at the hospital had been negligent, and he was given a form to make an appeal.

This case is an example of the consequences of delayed cancer diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, the alleged negligence of the defendant may have cost the patient his life. In such cases, the legal remedy for families may be wrongful death claims to not only obtain compensation but also remind doctors of their responsibilities to patients.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, "Suit against Young VA center claims veteran died as a result of treatment delays," Howard Altman, Oct. 17, 2014

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