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Pennsylvania veteran sues VA for PTSD medical malpractice

September 18th, 2012 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases can seem even more tragic when they involve individuals who have served their country in the military, especially in war-torn areas like Iraq. One Pennsylvania veteran who served in Iraq has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is seeking more than $5 million in damages stemming from allegedly poor treatment of the man’s post-traumatic stress disorder.

He and his wife are both plaintiffs in the trial which recently got under way. They claim that the VA prescribed a series of medications that are ineffective when it comes to the treatment of PTSD. Further, their lawsuit asserts that the VA should be well-versed in treating PTSD.

Courtroom testimony revealed the story of how the soldier’s psychological nightmare began after he stormed an apartment home in Iraq and believed himself to be responsible for the death of a child. Other incidents of violence added to his emotional troubles. Once he returned home to the U.S., he began experiencing anger, nightmares, flashbacks, bouts of insomnia and paranoia.

During opening arguments, the plaintiffs pointed out that the VA failed to allow the soldier to speak with a psychiatrist or trained physician to get treatment for his PTSD symptoms. Instead, VA nurses and physicians assistants apparently prescribed the man drugs whenever he complained about the serious difficulties he was having, typically over the telephone. At some point he was referred to psychotherapy but asserts he was never actually given the treatment he needed.

Things reportedly came to a breaking point for the man when he broke into a pharmacy to steal prescription drugs and was thereafter arrested for that incident. The defense maintains that the VA prescribed drugs appropriately based upon the agency’s guidelines. At the time of this report, the medical malpractice trial was set to continue in Pennsylvania court as the plaintiffs seek the outcome they hope will give this Iraqi veteran the justice that he needs to become healthier going forward.

Source: pennlive.com, “Carbondale Man Seeks $5 Million In PTSD Lawsuit Against VA Medical Center,” Sept. 11, 2012

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]

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