In the fall of 2017, after investigating 100 medical malpractice cases, the Department of Veteran Affairs (the “VA”) reported 88 were attributable to the treating VA physician. What’s worse, the investigation discovered that the agency made a significant effort to conceal these incidents of malpractice, most of which were blamed on one sole physician, Dr. Thomas Franchini.
Robert Sampson, the former head of surgery at the Maine hospital where the incidents took place, stated in a deposition that the medical facility “found that he was a dangerous surgeon.” Yet, Dr. Franchini was permitted by the VA to resign without any ramifications for his negligent conduct. Also, the VA failed to alert any state regulatory agencies, national databases or other organizations that conduct oversight over allegedly incompetent physicians.
In response, David Shulkin, Veteran Affairs Secretary, has vowed to revamp the agency’s system for responding to medical malpractice. Congress has also responded with two Senators, Joe Manchin and Dean Heller, proposing a bill that would require the VA to report any disciplinary action of medical personnel to a national database and state medical boards within 30 days. Presently, the agency is only required to report disciplinary action of doctors to a national database. Also, under the proposed legislation, the VA will no longer be able to delete negative records from personnel files.
It is unfortunate when veterans are treated with care that fails to meet acceptable standards. As the debacle at the VA demonstrates, most incidents of malpractice are committed by a small percentage of doctors. It is especially unfortunate that, annually, almost 100,000 deaths are caused by preventable medical errors.
At Bonina and Bonina, P.C., we have been successfully fighting for New Yorkers injured by medical malpractice for over 50 years. If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice, we will listen to you, explain your options, and help you decide what action you should take. Contact us today at 1-888-MedLaw1 or online so we can help you. The consultation is free. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla espaňol.