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Gainesville veterans hospital highest in wrongful death payments

We've discussed here previously the problems that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities here in Florida and across the country. Now comes a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting that the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville paid more in wrongful death settlements in the decade following the 9/11 attacks than any other VA hospital in the state. It also was second in the number of settled cases, after Tampa's James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

The Gainesville hospital is part of the North Florida/South Georgia system, which is the largest one in the country, according to its chief of staff. He also notes that the Gainesville hospital treats more patients than any other VA hospital in Florida. He cites this as the primary reason for the facility's high number of wrongful death cases.

Wrongful death payouts have surpassed $5 million since Sept. 11, 2001. These were for 16 wrongful death cases. Six of these cases were federal lawsuits filed by survivors, while the rest were handled through the VA's administrative process. The most common type of malpractice listed in these cases was "failure to diagnose." That was the charge in seven of the cases.

The study looked at wrongful death cases at VA medical facilities nationwide. In all, nearly 1,000 families obtained approximately $200 million in payouts.

Charges of medical malpractice can result in wrongful death suits if family members believe that the treatment (or lack of treatment) received by a loved one contributed to his or her death. Florida attorneys can advise families on their legal options if they believe this is the case.

Source: The Ledger, "Gainesville VA Led State in Wrongful Death Payouts" Morgan Watkins, Halifax Media Services, Jun. 22, 2014

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