Johnson, Mr. Sylvester
United States of America
2007 Plaintiff’s Surgery Performed
07/06/2009 Complaint Filed
12/13/2011 Stipulation and Order of Settlement Filed and Action Dismissed
US District Court for the Southern District of New York
Henry B. Pitman
01/26/2009 Decedent Misplaced at Hospital
03/15/2009 Decedent Died
03/26/2010 Complaint Filed
01/13/2012 Motion for Settlement Filed
01/17/2012 Revised Petition for Settlement Filed
01/25/2012 Decision and Order Approving Settlement Entered
US District Court for the Western District of New York
Michele A Braun
Firm Name: Lipsitz, Green, Scime & Cambria Llp
Mary K Roach
Firm Name: U.S. Attorney’s Office – Buffalo
William M. Skretny
Janet Richardson on behalf of Darryl Richardson, an incompetent adult, and U.R., a minor, and J.R., a minor v. United States of America; 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 19058.
Janet Richardson on behalf of Darryl Richardson, an incompetent adult, and U.R., a minor, and J.R., a minor v. United States of America; 2012 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 19058
December 05, 2012
Topic: Medical Malpractice – Failure to Monitor – Medical Malpractice – Delayed Treatment
Judge: Fred Biery
On Jan. 26, 2010, plaintiff Darryl Richardson, 47, a security guard, was admitted to the Audie L. Murphy Veterans Affairs hospital in San Antonio and diagnosed with congestive heart failure. On Feb. 4, he experienced a cardiac arrest while using a bathroom down the hall from his room. He was resuscitated but sustained brain damage.
Richardson’s wife, on behalf of her husband and their two minor children, sued the federal government for medical malpractice. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the bathroom floor in Richardson’s room was covered in urine, causing him to leave for the hall bathroom.
Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that Richardson’s sister, who was visiting with other family members, saw the emergency help light flashing over the bathroom door and called for help, but that it took approximately 25 minutes to locate a key to open the door and assist Richards, and another 10 minutes passed before epinephrine was administered.
The plaintiffs’ medical experts gave the opinion that the delay was the cause of Richardson’s brain damage. Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that the hospital breached the standard of care by failing to provide Richardson with a clean restroom in his room; failing to properly monitor his condition; failing to provide him with portable oxygen for ambulation; and failing to have a readily accessible bathroom key. All of these factors contributed to Richardson’s cardiac arrest and subsequent injuries, his family claimed.
Plaintiffs’ counsel argued that Richardson sustained severe permanent brain damage, resulting in serious cognitive, memory and motor control impairment. Richardson can only intermittently communicate or recognize family members. He requires assistance with basic tasks and will require 24-hour care for the remainder of his life. His family sought $4 million for future medical care and an unspecified amount for past and future pain and suffering, physical impairment and lost income.
The defense economics expert disputed the lost-wage claims. The defense life care planning expert maintained that the plaintiffs’ claims for Richardson’s future medical needs and lifespan were excessive, arguing $2 million was a more reasonable estimate of future medical costs.
Award Details: The parties settled prior to trial for $2 million.
Portland VA Medical Center supply tech gets three-year term for collecting child porn
Lance: To Dr. Robert Petzel. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ top health official, appearing at The National Press Club in Washington to tout planned tech upgrades, claimed he had a meeting, then stared straight ahead and refused to acknowledge a Trib reporter’s questions about the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System’s deadly 2011-12 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. The doctor’s reprehensible stonewalling speaks volumes about the VA’s arrogance, self-interest, dereliction of its sacred duty to America’s veterans and disregard for public accountability.
VA hospital failures bring senator home | Opinion | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.
Murphy seeks reversal of bonus given to Pittsburgh VA leaders during Legionnaires’ outbreak – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy sent a letter to U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki today asking him to rescind recent bonuses given to leaders of the regional and Pittsburgh VA offices given the ongoing revelations about a Legionnaires’ outbreak.
The letter was in response to a letter sent last month to Mr. Murphy, an Upper St. Clair Republican, that upset Mr. Murphy because Mr. Shinseki defended regional VA director Michael Moreland saying Mr. Moreland “is an outstanding professional who continuously demonstrates strength, commitment, integrity, and a relentless commitment to public service.”
Mr. Murphy and Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley, wrote to Mr. Shinseki earlier asking why Mr. Moreland and others received bonuses even as the Legionnaires’ outbreak was ongoing.
“In your reply,” Mr. Murphy wrote Mr. Shinseki today, referring to the July letter, “you stated the VA ‘can and will do more to prevent future incidences.’ While preventing the spread of infectious diseases should be a top priority for VA leadership, the department must also hold responsible those in a position of authority who did not adhere to the VA’s own directives and standards of care. And at the very least, the taxpayers should not be giving them bonuses.”
In the final report on the outbreak at the Pittsburgh VA, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2011 and 2012 at least 16 veterans were possibly or definitely infected with the disease during stays at the Pittsburgh VA and five more veterans died.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported two weeks ago that a sixth veteran may also have died after contracting Legionnaires’ at the VA.
Mr. Murphy included a list of all six men’s names in his letter to Mr. Shinseki, writing: “It is in the memory of these veterans that I am writing to you today.”
In addition to asking Mr. Shinseki to rescind bonuses to the leadership at the Pittsburgh VA, Mr. Murphy asked that Mr. Shinseki tell him within 10 business days “whether there have been any suspensions, sanctions or firings of individuals who contributed to the failures that led to the November 2012 outbreak. The review is not over; our congressional investigations continue.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/murphy-seeks-reversal-of-bonuns-given-to-pittsburgh-va-leaders-during-legionnaires-outbreak-698634/#ixzz2bQQr6IzQ
The Department of Veterans Affairs has received a lot of negative attention lately for failing to adequately deliver the care and benefits America promised our veterans.
In addition to the department’s massive disability-benefits backlog, a disturbing pattern of preventable veteran deaths and other patient-safety issues has emerged at VA hospitals around the country.
Sadly, the department’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability may be encouraging more veteran suffering instead of preventing it.
Examples of the department’s lack of accountability are numerous. But almost as plentiful — and even more shameful — are the many cases where VA employees and executives are being rewarded rather than punished for their incompetence.
Officials with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System have botched the handling of a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at nearly every turn. Five veterans are now dead from the pneumonialike disease. But instead of giving those who failed to prevent the outbreak pink slips, VA gave them glowing performance reviews and huge bonuses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 21 veterans were sickened between February 2011 and November 2012, but that didn’t stop VA Pittsburgh Director Terry Gerigk Wolf from receiving the highest possible score on a VA performance review covering the bulk of the outbreak period.
Shockingly, Wolf’s review makes no mention of the outbreak, and instead praises her for leading a “groundbreaking Civility Initiative” and helping improve her employees’ resume-writing skills.
Memories of the outbreak seem to have eluded VA officials again when they nominated Wolf’s boss, VA regional director Michael Moreland, for the Presidential Rank Award, America’s highest civil-service accolade. For Moreland, the honor included a whopping $62,895 bonus, which he formally accepted just three days after VA’s inspector general reported VA Pittsburgh’s response to the outbreak was plagued by persistent mismanagement.
Most people would find VA’s celebration of Wolf and Moreland in the aftermath of a deadly outbreak they were too incompetent to stop hard to believe. Yet the situation is routine at the department, where failing executives have been collecting massive bonuses for years. Recent examples include the following:
A VA executive in charge of the nearly 60 offices that process disability benefits compensation claims collected almost $60,000 in bonuses while overseeing a near seven-fold increase in backlogged claims.
A VA health official in New York pocketed nearly $26,000 in bonuses while presiding over chronic misuse of insulin pens that potentially exposed hundreds of veterans to blood-borne illnesses.
Two April VA inspector-general reports identified serious instances of mismanagement at the Atlanta VA Medical Center that led to the drug-overdose deaths of two patients and the suicide of another. True to form, VA doled out nearly $65,000 in performance bonuses to the medical-center director who presided over the negligence.
In early May, I spent the day at the Atlanta VAMC, along with several members of Georgia’s congressional delegation. Hospital officials told us that although they had identified specific employees whose actions had contributed to patient deaths, no one had been fired.
When I asked a roomful of Atlanta VAMC leaders if there were any other serious patient-care incidents Congress needed to know about, they said no, failing to reveal a previously unreported suicide the media would expose just four days later.
This alarming pattern of complacency has cast a dark shadow over VA medical centers around the country. For months, Congress has tried in vain to compel VA leaders to take meaningful steps to prevent deaths and adverse incidents. Unfortunately, department officials seem more intent on protecting and rewarding VA’s worst-performing employees than sending a powerful message that substandard care for veterans will not be tolerated.
Our veterans deserve better. For VA’s quality of care to improve, department officials must be willing to hold accountable anyone responsible for letting patients fall through the cracks. Rewarding failure will not help VA better serve those who served our country. It will only lead to more delays and more dead American heroes.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, a Republican from Chumuckla, Fla., is the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.