VA Denies Majority of War Illness Related Claims
Serious and persistent problems with how Veterans Affairs handles Gulf War benefits claims have been brought to light, following a report published by advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense.
The report highlights issues ranging from poorly trained examiners to inconsistent methods of handling claims in different regions of the country.
Denial rates can vary from city to city, ranging from 47 percent in Boston, to 95 percent in Roanoke, according to the report.
Department of Veterans Affairs benefits officials in Waco, Texas have denied a total of 92 percent of claims related to Gulf War illness, giving Central Texas veterans one of the highest denial rates in the nation, according to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
Nationally, the VA denied an average of 87 percent of Gulf War illness related claims in made in 2015, the report states.
The VA estimates that 44 percent of the 700,000 service members who served in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War have developed such symptoms such as joint pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and neurological problems after returning home from war. The illnesses are believed to have been caused by exposure to toxic elements like smoke from burning oil wells, depleted uranium and chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas.
While the VA has taken some steps to expand eligibility for compensation for Gulf War illnesses, experts say the department continues to make it extremely difficult to file and win a benefit claim. Veterans and advocacy groups just like Veterans for Common Sense have fought for years to convince the VA to even recognize Gulf War illnesses.
Military Hospital and VA Medical Malpractice
Not getting diagnoses from your doctor is common type of medical malpractice. Sadly, diagnostic error can often result in patient death and injury. While some medical conditions are difficult to diagnose, others are the oversight and negligence of physicians. Without the proper treatment, a medical condition can worsen if not diagnosed properly.
Many current and former service members are under the false impression that they have no recourse if they have been harmed by a doctor’s mistake or another type of medical malpractice in a military hospital. They mistakenly believe that government immunity shields the doctors and hospitals from responsibility for professional negligence that causes injury or death to patient.
This is absolutely not true. Medical professionals employed by the government are as responsible as any other health care provider for adhering to professional standards of care.
When you are injured by a VA doctor or other employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you have two legal remedies available to you. You can file a claim with the VA for disability compensation (commonly referred to as a Section 1151 claim), and/or you can seek money damages under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA).
We handle many types of VA cases:
Failure to diagnose disease/cancer
Misdiagnosis or incorrect diagnosis of disease/cancer
Surgical mistakes, including leaving equipment, tools, sponges, inside the body (sometimes called “foreign body” cases)
Delay in diagnosing disease/cancer
Failure to monitor or treat a disease or cancer
Wrong medication prescribed or administered
Unnecessary procedures causing injury
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Because we are veterans ourselves, we are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges veterans and service members face when it comes to dealing with the VA.
If you or a family member who is a military dependent was harmed because of a doctor’s mistake or a nurse’s negligence in a military hospital or VA facility, it is in your best interest to contact a medical malpractice attorney.
Contact The Carlson Law Firm today for a free consultation. We care, we can help.
- Written by Jill Fowler