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Did the VA cover up incidents of medical malpractice by a doctor?

For their service to the United States, veterans here in Louisiana and across the country deserve quality health care. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, and now lawmakers may be taking steps to help change that. The impetus for change was the discovery of a doctor who may have committed numerous acts of medical malpractice, and the VA kept it quiet.

It appears that the reporting policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to mistakes made by its medical personnel. The problem lies in the fact that VA hospitals have failed to report medical professionals who made mistakes resulting in harm to state licensing boards. Some of the medical personnel in question left the VA -- whether voluntarily or otherwise -- and continued to practice medicine.

According to the VA, it did report dentists and doctors, but not other professionals such as podiatrists, nurses or physician's assistants. In Maine, a VA podiatrist is said to be responsible for harm suffered by at least 88 of this country's veterans. Settlements were secretly reached with others who caused harm to patients. In some cases, serious medical mistakes were concealed. These practices were made public after the news publication USA Today conducted its own investigation into the matter.

It remains to be seen just how many patients were denied the right to make medical malpractice claims due to the VA's practices. Veteran or not, anyone who believes they did not receive the appropriate care at the hands of a hospital's medical staff should have the right to seek restitution for the harm done to them, if appropriate. Anyone here in Louisiana who questions whether a mistake led to serious harm or death may benefit from discussing the matter with an attorney.

Source: wkyc.com, "VA vows changes on bad health care providers, lawmakers take action", Donovan Slack, Oct. 12, 2017

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