Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania veteran's PTSD left untreated

A Pennsylvania combat veteran has recently been awarded $3.7 million by a federal judge for a VA Hospital's failure to properly diagnose or treat the soldier's post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The failure to treat is believed to have contributed to his decline and current and permanent disability status.

The problems for the veteran all came to a head when he broke into a Pennsylvania pharmacy in an attempt to steal drugs back in 2007. This was four months after he had already been diagnosed with PTSD. During this four month period, the soldier and his wife reached out for help to the VA hospital on at least ten separate occasions. Instead of being seen by a physician, he was simply prescribed what were felt to be the wrong medications.

"Here, not only did the VA not provide proper PTSD treatment, but they administered a medication that would result in self-medication with an addictive substance," the judge was quoted as saying. At the same time, the judge ruled on this to be a "very fact specific" case.

In actuality, all medical malpractice cases are fact specific in that every patient requires their own individual treatment. A treatment that may work for one patient may be inappropriate for another.

Medical malpractice attorneys, when trying these types of cases, must present why the treatments conducted were improper for this particular patient, or why the treatment was not conducted in a timely fashion. In other cases, it must be shown that the condition was misdiagnosed or the wrong treatment was performed because of an incorrect diagnosis.

The Iraqi conflict has brought to the forefront a number of patients suffering from psychological stress or other disturbances brought about by concussions and brain trauma. We're now learning what a mistake it has been for doctors and medical staff to ignore these disorders.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Pennsylvania veteran awarded $3.7 M in suit against VA," by Saranac Hale Spencer, Jan. 21, 2013

For more information regarding the consequences of a delayed diagnosis, please visit our webpage.

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