A Connecticut veteran is rightfully suing a VA hospital over gross medical malpractice, but if the high-profile tragedy had happened at a private hospital in Louisiana, he probably would have been out of luck.
Here are the highlights of the case of Glenford Turner:
- The veteran, Mr. Turner, had a radical prostatectomy in 2013. The surgery was performed by a surgeon-in-training.
- After the surgery, Mr. Turner suffered inexplicable abdominal pain for years — for four years, to be exact.
- In 2017, Mr. Turner was getting an MRI for an unrelated issue, when the MRI machine reacted to what was later revealed to be a scalpel in his abdomen.
- The MRI machine caused the scalpel to move around in Mr. Turner’s abdomen, causing excruciating pain.
- Mr. Turner had to have an additional surgery to remove the scalpel from his abdomen.
His lawyer is asking for more than $1 million in damages.
Why would the case be different in Louisiana?
Had this gross medical error occurred at any private hospital in Louisiana — not a federally run VA hospital — Mr. Turner’s medical malpractice suit against the private hospital probably would have been untimely.
That’s because in Louisiana, we have a very strict statute of limitations, or prescriptive period. An injured patient only has one year from the date they discover the malpractice within which to file suit; however, there is a strict three-year limit from the date of the negligent act that applies, regardless of when the injured patient discovers the malpractice.
That is, in Mr. Turner’s case, because his date of discovery was 4 years after the negligent act, his case (if the event had occurred at a private hospital in Louisiana) was time-barred by the time he found out about it!
How are VA hospitals different?
VA hospitals are federally run and, therefore, are subject to federal tort laws, specifically the Federal Torts Claim Act. Under the FTCA, you have two years from the date that the injury is discovered to file a lawsuit.
If a doctor or nurse at a VA hospital caused you injury, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can start the process of filing a Form 95 claim, which is the jurisdictional prerequisite to filing suit against the federal government.
Medical malpractice is a serious issue, and medical malpractice lawsuits are just as complicated as they sound. That’s why it’s imperative that you hire someone with ample experience in handling VA injury claims or other types of medical malpractice.
If you or someone you love has been injured at the hands of a doctor or medical professional, contact the office of Kara Hadican Samuels today.