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On March 12, 2018 my husband was admitted to the Veteran Affairs Medical Center of Memphis, Tennessee for a prescheduled three-day admission. Subsequently, he tragically died on March 22, 2018 at 10:14am due a mind-boggling amount errors and failures of the providers of VAMC of Memphis. I am alleging that the VAMC of Memphis, Tennessee and the medical providers failed in their duty of care to my husband by their: failure to monitor and administer Vancomycin properly and safely, failed to recognize and correct Vancomycin toxicity which lead to Acute Renal Failure, failure to recognize and treat the Acute Renal Failure leading to fluid overload, failure to treat new onset Congestive Heart Failure caused by fluid overload , then failure to assess or render treatment respiratory distress. In addition, failure to have the proper equipment available to provide airway management, inappropriate administration of anesthesia by resident(far out of scope of practice), failure to intubate in a timely manner causing hypoxia leading to cardiac arrest. As well as, failure to follow the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on my husband. About three months after his death, I called VAMC of Memphis and asked to speak to his admitting physician/spinal cord attending doctor. I was transferred to her voicemail. I left a message. About a week later, I received a call from a lady identifying herself as the Chief Director of the Spinal Cord Center. She informed me that the hospital was conducting an internal investigation about all the events that occurred surrounding my husbands death. She stated that the admitting physician could not talk to me until this investigation was over. At the end of the call I ask her if I would be privy to the investigations findings. She told me no because it was peer review and they did not have to disclose it to me (which I already knew but thought I would just ask). I myself am a nurse. For me as a nurse, I could not believe the things I read in the medical record. I spent many months piecing the puzzle of the events, in which my husband endured, back together. The medical records were sent to me is true disarray. It was as though they hit the shuffle button then sent them. Once I got them in chronological order I began going through it highlighting all import facts as well as all standards of care to research. While reviewing the records I discovered many, many documents in which I had not received despite requesting ALL medical records. Each time I discovered I was missing documents I requested them (for example the Blue Alert Record, EKG's, Anesthesia records, etc.). After a total of 11 months, some help from other nurses and physicians I know, I had 1300 pages or so of medical peer reviewed literature to support all of my findings. I then consulted an independent legal nurse. I have a complete legal nurse review/chronology of the medical record including supporting peer reviewed medical evidence for each finding and failure to provide the duty of care in the medical record. I then enlisted a group of friends and we meticulously read through all VHA policies I felt might have been violated. I created a report citing each VHA policy/directive violated and citing the medical record where the violation had taken place. My husband had no choice but to receive his medical care at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center of Memphis. I clearly remember his first admission. As it began an endless battle with them to provide him dignified, safe , appropriate care. Each time I had to allow VAMC to render care to my husband I feared he might not make it home. I feared they might literally kill him. I have spent many drives home crying for this reason alone. I have witnessed many negligent acts of the staff and at times very dangerous care. I have battled with many nurse managers for change and at times refused to leave him. This was my greatest fear that came true. I am prayerful and seek to make VAMC of Memphis, Tennessee be accountable for their horrific, negligent care in which they rendered to my husband causing his death, taking him from my son (who is autistic and now 9) and me. This is what I have done so far. I submitted a claim for 38 USC 1151, Accured Benefits, and Pension. I submitted it just three days prior to my husbands one year date of death. I included all required documents for the 1151 Claim, copy of autopsy, death certificate, copy of all medical records, the legal nurse review. And approximatley 1300 pages of medical evidence to support all opinions of the legal nurse consultant. When I last checked the status of my 1151 Claim on the website it states it is in the review period with an estimated completion day of Dec 31 2019 (for what that is worth). I have obtained a certified legal nurse review which states my husband died due to no fault of his own, was not foreseen and died due to multiple VAMC providers medical negligence. I am having a lot of trouble obtaining an attorney for the Federal Tort Claim I am going to file. I have not filed Standard Form 95 as of yet. As my statued continues to run out I am faced with filing Standard Form 95 on my own. My husband served in the United States Army for 18 years followed by 12 years in the Army Reserve. My husband was a skillful, highly sought General Surgeon, a life-saving Trauma Surgeon, a teacher to many in West Tennessee, a father to our son whom is now nine, and my soul mate. . I have been told my husband cause of death was not as clear as a medical malpractice attorney would like it to be, like a sponge left during surgery or etc. The events of his hospitalization may not be that clear however, I am confident that their numerous failures to follow clinical practice guidelines fell far below any standard of care one expects in America today and far below the standard of care one would receive in my community as a civilian and caused his death.
Is this FTCA worthy? Thought I was posting in the correct Forum with my original post...know this is in Berta's wheelhouse: I am receiving 100% TDIU (90% SC w/remaining based on IU) since 2014. Saw an APRN from 2010-2016. In that time they (APRN/MD) prescribed Lorazepam at first 2mgs (1mg twice a day). Had already fought VA solo for a decade in getting the diagnosis for SC PTSD and GERD back-dated and had tried a laundry list of prescribed meds but had had no luck. I was asking the APRN repeatedly about dependence on the Lorazepam, side-effects, etc...all documented. Was even told in a C&P by a PhD that the drug is "not addictive." I was told repeatedly the importance of "medication compliance" by the APRN. Despite my life spiraling, all documented, the APRN kept prescribing. I even asked the dosage to be reduced. I never had a face-to-face with the MD as required by APRN/MD protocol in all that time. I had gained thirty pounds, was drinking heavily, was forced to sell a self-started business due to IU, and deaths of significant others, etc...all things that should have likely prompted a sit-down with the prescribing MD. Fastforward to just-prior-to Christmas 2016 I received a letter stating I was being reassigned to a new MD. Within seconds of our meeting the MD had already stated he had not read my chart and then proceeds to just berate me stating "I was an addict...look at you." I sit forward in a chair to hear. He would have known that if he would have simply read my chart. I held my tongue and just let him spew. He then states if I continue taking the drug I will "end up in a nursing home." In the same sentence, while essentially yelling at me, he says if you stop taking it you will "drop dead from a seizure." To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I said nothing. I had been told for the past six years that this medication was a "wonderdrug" for me and I was told by the APRN to remain "compliant" in taking the med. I am not an addict by the way. I was someone that had taken a drug EXACTLY as prescribed for over six years while being assured and reassured by an APRN that it was nothing but beneficial for me. All documented. I was never told this drug was life-threatening. Again, I never abused Lorazepam only taking it as prescribed. I had heard enough from this MD, also the Chief-of-Staff of the clinic; I asked him "if this medication is so dangerous then why have I been prescribed it for so long?" His response still resonates with me. I think at that moment he realized HE was the doctor signing-off on the APRN requests for that length of time...but he didn't stop talking. I knew that he was the MD before we ever met that day. His name was on every bottle filled. He admitted he "likely was the doctor signing-off" and "he had so many patients he just signed-off on the APRN requests." What?! His facial expression was priceless when the reality of what he was telling me hit him; he immediately began to throw the NP/APRN under the bus saying "she had a history of over-prescribing." He was incredibly rude, brazen, and unapologetic in his admisson. He even put in my progress notes from that day that my taking a half of a half of a 1mg Lorazepam as needed was my "attempt to ween myself." This was untrue at the time and I feel was a vain attempt to cover himself somehow. I reported everything that was said to the patient advocate...her response..."you caught him." I have since discontinued the med not without horrible withdrawls and am now having uncontrollable muscle movements with my right hand curling inward with fingers locking rigidly, memory loss and gait/balance issues. I am obviously "unemployable" as well. The MDs attempt to taper me from the medication was questionable as well...he told me to "only take it if I need it" instead of a proper taper. The patient advocate and her supervisor have mentioned the Form 95 and my Rights. During the time I was on the medication I was in Chapter 31/35 Voc Rehab. I experienced just about every form of employment discrimination there is as a first-year teacher.That's a nightmare by itself. Just to put this out there...EEOC is a joke. I disclosed my hearing impairment prior to being hired on a pre-employment checklist, which is an illegal inquiry by the way. When I had a simple disagreement with an Assistant Principal about a collateral duty he placed me outside from Nov-Feb next to a running industrial-sized generator. When I requested to be moved I was ignored. EEOC opined not only was this normal but even allowed the opposing attorney to claim I had "never disclosed nor was disabled" despite having written proof. EEOC even allowed the opposing and one of its own directors to question my military service. I was forced to resign. I hope that hits home for folks on this forum. If EEOC can scoff at my military service and a VA SC disability then what does that say about their REAL view of ADA/ADAAA, veterans, and SC disabilities? I can't get a teaching interview due to retaliation from my former employer; EEOC is aware but refuses to even open mail from me. Again, EEOC apparently does not care about some veterans. I filed in Federal Court pro se when no attorney had the brass to represent me. Instead of VA Voc Rehab advocating for me, which they are required to do by statute, and helping me keep my job for a very specific disability disclosure prior to being hired as a teacher, they (VA) simply deemed me "unemployable." All the while they were prescribing a med that was obviously making my SC disability much worse--obviously hindsight helps here. The two MDs I have seen since 2016 both agree that not only was the dosage excessive, too prolonged, but most importantly that given my pre-existing SC of PTSD the expectation of very specific outcomes should have been expected. See Laskowski v US (Dondershine opinion). According to my own research since the FDA has no clinical studies past several months for Lorazepam much less six plus years...further FDA states very clearly that in certain patients, PTSD symptoms could/will be compounded. I have spoken with several attorneys that claim to handle FTCA cases. So far the majority only are interested in "catastrophic injury" cases. Considering I am faced with possible lifelong issues related to this med and a complete lack of accountability between APRN/MD is this FTCA material? I have read the Laskowski v US case which seems similar despite me not being a criminal. I do have a face-to-face appointment with an attorney in about a week. Please advise.
Can't get "Answer Question" to come up on this post so will edit to add at the end. Editing to thank Berta for her Post. today is March 21, 2018. Still waiting for the response from the Judge to my rebuttal brief to the motion to dismiss by the U S Attorney. Attaching my objection and brief filed March 6, 2018. I'm attaching my Pro Se Complaint filed in U S District Court on December 15, 2017. Also the U S Attorney's motion to dismiss. I would like to hear any suggestions of U S Code and CFR articles that should be challenged under Sec (4)(d) of the 14th Amendment which was ratified on July 9, 1968. "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void." For one, I would like to challenge the payment of back payments in rates that have been raised via COLA increases. My challenge is the Amendment was ratified under the gold standard. While there were variances across the land in how much gold it took to buy a good horse, the price of a good horse did not vary the way inflation affects the price today. The dollar we receive in past benefits should buy the same basket of groceries it would buy at the time the debt by the government to us is recognized. We need to challenge the Feres doctrine again now that the Sec (4)(d) is recognized in the Appeals Court process. From 1968 until the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims was established Sec (4)(d) was essentially written out of the 14th Amendment by refusal to hear or by decisions such as the 1955 Feres decision. There were no cases in annotated texts of Appeals decisions under Sec (4)(d) when I first attempted to address the problem of the minimization of organic brain syndromes including damage by mild to moderately severe TBI, diseases, and other exposures such as oxygen supply interruption. I'm also requesting assistance in researching case law to counter the U S Attorney's response. I will be doing research via Fastcase.com and will post for any of the problems listed by others with their claims that I have read that I happen on to. I also have a pending Appeal to the CAVC which I will update on this thread. Presently the VA has made 5 form letter responses to the CAVC saying my dispute with the RBA remains open. No detail required by the Clerk's Order has been provided regarding the attempt to resolve the dispute. I have received no personal contact from the two attorneys assigned to handle the case. One for the case and the other for the disputed RBA. Can't get "Answer Question" to come up on this post so will edit to add. To Challenge under 14th Sec (4)(d): 1: Limitations of effective dates to other than evidence of onset of disability and evidence of increase. (look up U.S.C 38 AND 38 CFR) 2: "Closure of Claims" by VA without consent of Veteran. (look up U.S.C 38 AND 38 CFR) 20171215 Court complaint.pdf 20171215 Court complaint tolling.pdf 20180103 POS Rebuttal CM-EF Reg.pdf 20180103 Rebuttal obj eq tolling.pdf 20180109 DCDW denial Motion Eq Toll.pdf 20180213 U S Motion to dismiss.pdf 20180306 Objection to Dismiss.pdf 20180306 Objection to Dismiss Brief.pdf
I need an FTCA attorney. I have a Wyoming attorney willing to stand in as the Wyoming attorney for filing in the U S District Court for the Wyoming District. Is any available frequenting this site or can I get a referral from someone. The case involves prescribing a medication, Tegretol, for "atonic seizures" that was contra indicated, made my condition worse and then the West Los Angeles VA RMC Seizure Clinic refused to change medications. When It made me so bad, after 5 months, that I weaned myself off an quit the drug they still wouldn't provide a different drug and instead diagnosed me with "pseudo seizures" which cannot be done if there is a record of epileptiform spiking in an EEG as is the case. From the Physicians' Desk Reference: " From the current online PDR, “Carbamazepine is not recommended for use in petit mal…” (absence) “… seizures, atonic seizures, or myoclonic seizures because it can exacerbate these conditions. If a worsening of seizures occurs when therapy is initiated, this possibility should be considered.” (copywrite by PDR, LLC, 2017) This is exactly what happened to me and when I complained in the last of 1990 into 1991 the Seizure Clinic refused to change therapy. Tegretol was approved in 1968. It had 22 years of service before it was prescribed to me on a diagnosis of "Atonic seizures." I'm not sure the warning in the current PDR was in the 1990 PDR but assume it was because of the years of service. I lost approximately 32 years of optimum employability and employability. My finale full time employment was in 1985 with a 2 year break to a part time job, that ended in 1990, which was essentially a charity job working for a business manager of a well know actor in Los Angeles. The seizures are the result of an anterior temporal lobe injury in 1969 and went undiagnosed until 1985 and then untreated until confirmed in 1990. Following the diagnosis of "pseudo seizures," I was untreated for seizures until August of 2015 with a drug I could tolerate. No drug was tried until a private NB Ward physician tried Lamotrigine in April of 2014. The immediate effect was great but in three days I developed Steven's Johnson's syndrome. Keppra wasn't tried until August of 2015 here in Wyoming, and has been working very well. I'm currently service connected for a TBI at 40% with a combined rating of 70% and granted TDIU from 2009 per a BVA Decision on May 11, 2017. There is a remand in the decision that may take the TDIU back to either the claim in 1987 or the end of the part time employment if it is judged as "substantially gainful employment." The pay was and there is a statement of the now deceased employer in the record stating that I was paid 4 days for 3 days work which I wasn't able to full fill and part of the work had to be shifted to another employee.