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