Some veterans in Arizona are still waiting six months or longer for medical treatment two years after whistleblowers working at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs office reported that senior executives routinely ordered medical staff to cancel appointments. Investigators were unable to prove these allegations, but a report released by the VA Office of Inspector General on Oct. 4 reveals that bureaucratic mix-ups are still widespread and likely cost at least one veteran his life.
The inspector general's report reveals that 200 veterans died in 2015 while waiting to receive medical treatment from the Phoenix VA. The report concludes that the death of one veteran could have been prevented if a cardiology examination had been performed. The Phoenix VA was criticized harshly in a 2014 report that accused senior executives of creating secret waiting lists and falsifying records in order to earn performance-related bonuses.
Lawmakers in both Arizona and Washington, D.C., say that the latest inspector general's report provides more evidence that the Veterans Administration is failing to meet the needs of those who have risked their lives to defend the United States. Congress has already passed a law that allows veterans to seek treatment outside the VA when waiting lists are long, but several legislators believe that the problem can only be addressed effectively if senior VA executives are held accountable for the agency's failings.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are often filed after doctors have made some sort of mistake during treatment or failed to diagnose a dangerous disease, but this type of litigation may also be initiated when administrative or procedural errors cause patients to suffer injury, loss or damage. While the procedure involving lawsuits against the Veterans Administration is different, expert testimony is still often crucial. Attorneys may call upon experienced health care administrators and managers in cases where this type of hospital negligence is suspected.