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VA reverses stance on delayed assistance in veteran deaths

After months of vehement denials, Veterans' Administration officials are now admitting that long waits at VA facilities did contribute to deaths of veterans. While the Acting Inspector General would not say that the delayed assistance caused the deaths, he did admit that it contributed to the fatal consequences.

The Chairman of the House Committee investigating the VA scandal says the number of veterans affected could be close to 300, although the Acting Inspector General's investigation has confirmed only 40 fatalities. One South Carolina veteran's hospital is among those under investigation.

The reasons for the delayed care have ranged from lack of hospital staff training in the use of scheduling software, to planned systematic policies of delaying care to manipulate data to create a better impression of the hospital's management. Whistleblowers from at least one facility have come forward to provide details supporting the allegations.

Whether the allegations against the hospitals will rise to the level of medical malpractice or hospital neglect remains to be seen. But the investigation may provide insight into the administration of other medical facilities, not just the VA system.

Most hospital administrators are charged with maintaining a profitable facility. So the VA may not be the only hospital system guilty of manipulating data and numbers resulting in patient injury.

The effects of medical malpractice and inadequate care can be dangerous and, as demonstrated here, even deadly. If you or a loved one has experienced delayed assistance or hospital neglect, an attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases will be able to help assess your claim for compensation.

Source: Los Angeles Wave, "VA inspector general admits wait times contributed to vets' deaths," Curt Devine and Scott Bronstein, Sept. 21, 2014

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