Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Military Medical Misdiagnosis/Malpractice

Posted In: Medical Errors 15 Replies
  • Posted By: DSchaeffer
  • October 29, 2008
  • 00:16 AM

10 years ago (3/98) we were hit by a drunk driver, she had no insurance so USAA settled for the limit of our policy (less than 1 years pay as a CNA).
I was transported to a local AF base where the EMT stated to the triage nurse that I was "fine" as she had seen me "run approximately 40 yards back to our vehicle without seeming defect". What she failed to tell them was that after doing so I was doubled up in the back of my demolished van with back spasms that hurt so badly I was throwing up. I waited on the back board and gurney, in the open hallway, ignored for almost 2 hours when my husband finally arrived and basically asked "what the ***l?". They did routine xrays and sent me home with a sheet for care of muscle spasms, a "look out for" symptoms sheet and a script for motrin and robaxin for 5 days.

That was the beginning of a nightmare that went something like this:

1> After going back in about a week later complaining of increased low back pain with "fire ants" in my left hip radiating to my knee I was told that I was fine, that all I wanted was the money (what money?) and to go home and work in the garden I was "just stiff". They gave me a script for lortab and flexeril and sent me home.
2> I went back in complaining of weakness in my left leg and no relief from the pain and spasms. They sent me to P/T and slightly increased the medications.
3> After going through the revolving doors of doctors, nurse practioners, and PA's I was sent to a pain management clinic for "better medications" and was put on morphine based medications, valium and Lyrica.
4> I was still not getting relief so I was still "complaining", which earned me a "drug seeking" notation in my medical history and referral to a "specialized pain management in-patient facility". Well, after checking in we discovered it was NOT what they said it was.. it was a drug and alcohol rehab facility! Unfortunately, by the ime I was done with "supervised withdrawal symptoms" (fun times!) I learned that if I checked out I would be responsible for the bill to that point! By the time I was released, these "counselors" had convinced me that I was a drug addict in denial AND being told repeatedly that my marriage was a "fantasy" because "no-one has a partner or relationship that good". My response.. "maybe yours wasn't, but mine is".
5> Still having the same problems I went back and was sent to the base neurologist. This doctor orders an MRI, sees nothing so he tells us I have permanent nerve damage (based on the radiating pain etc), that nothing can be done and I will be on medications the rest of my life, re-enter the morphine medications, valium and lyrica in ever increasing doses.
6> After 8 years of this I asked for an off-base PCM. After 1 1/2 months of waiting I finally had a GOOD dotor. He got me into a pain management specialist at a sports medicine specialty clinic near us, who got me a referral to an excellent neurosurgeon.
The surgeon ordered another MRI with and without contrast, and still couldn't find the answer so he ordered a discogram (oh my goodness this is PAINFUL!!) which finally gave him the answer, at this point I had been in bed for almost a year. A week later he had approval from Tricare to fuse my L5-S1 disc and flex-fuse L4-5. I spend 3 days in the hospital, 6 weeks in the brace and after 12 weeks was released pain free and OFF the medications. The surgeon told us he was sorry I had suffered so long, and that it was needless as the damage could have been repaired "long" ago.

I lost 10 years of employment, education possibilities, playing with our 12 grandchildren, and being a "productive" housewife and partner for my husband (of 20 years next month). I still have residual nerve damage and weakness in my left leg, but I have a life again, something I thought I would never have. In fact about 6 weeks before the surgery I had told my hubby "I don't want to be here anymore".. meaning alive. That is what living with horrible chronic pain and being told "nothing is wrong with you" for so long can do to a person.

I spoke with an attorney about a possible misdiagnosis/malpractice suit against the base, but was told I was "beyond Florida's 2/4 year statute of limitations". How was I supposed to know WHAT was actually wrong AND that I was misdiagnosed?? :rolleyes: Anyway, a moot point now.

*Word of advice to military members and their spouses, You CAN sue the military for medical malpractice/misdiagnosis without threat to your (or your spouses) career. Just be certain of your state's statute of limitations!!!!!

I hope this little bit of venting saves someone else from the same painful experience and gives them the option I didn't know about.

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15 Replies:

  • Sounds like whiplash and it's not detected with the regular tests that you had. Hope you are doing better; if not, it may be settled in but you can get some treatment via alternate therapies. I'm all for natural hot springs and soaks. Check out your area. A good chiropractor should be able to give you some help, too.
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • November 1, 2008
    • 00:18 AM
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  • Monster-Whiplash??? Apparently you didn't read the entire post or you didn't understand what I wrote. I now have a fusion at L5-S1 and a flex fuse at L4-5, that is in the lumbar area (at the tailbone area) and no where near my neck. And it took a discogram to find the damage, a crushed disc and a damaged one. It had nothing to do with whiplash and all a chiropractor would have done was to possibly make the inobvious damage worse. Your reply reminds me of the military docs, no offence, but you didn't "listen' (read in this case) any better than they did.
    DSchaeffer 3 Replies
    • November 2, 2008
    • 10:45 AM
    • 0
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  • What do you expect online, other than a place to vent? Sorry I missed the details, but I work 60 hours a week and do this for fun. It could have initially been whiplash, along with the other damage. I agree that you don't always get good care at the military hospitals, but you are bound by the statute of limitations.Try EFT for your ongoing frustations and anger: www.emofree.com
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • November 2, 2008
    • 07:25 PM
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  • Monster, it is a place to vent and to pass on information. There was never any problem with my neck, so I have no clue where you came up with whiplash. So, no that was never the problem. I understand that I am bound by the limitaions, it was merely my way of warning others about those limitaions so the same thing doesn't happen to them.I am glad you are able to work 60 hours a week, hopefully at something you enjoy. As far as doing this for fun, that is a good thing too, but before you respond take the time to actually read what is being said/vented so that your reply is at least somewhat relevent. In this case it wasn't, either time.
    DSchaeffer 3 Replies
    • November 3, 2008
    • 00:21 AM
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  • Sounds like Monster is a corpsman. 8-10 weeks of school doesn't qualify you to make medical speculations. It barely qualifies you to draw blood properly. Get out from behind the desk and go to combat. And if you are going to reply to a post, read the entire post.And that's why so many military members end up with such screwed up medical care. Speculation after not reading or taking in all the facts. In the civilian world, we call it "grab assing in the dark".
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 3, 2008
    • 08:01 AM
    • 0
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  • :( I am so sorry for your pain and suffering. Sometimes, it is very hard to get a diagnosis involoving trauma that doesn't show up in tests, then you get shuffled from doctor to doctor. :eek:But, please don't say all military hospital/physicians give crappy care because that is not true. Nearly all of military healthcare facilities are JCAHO accrediated as well various other federal and military accrediations to insured patients do get quality care. If a patient has a complaint. they can go to the Customer Advocate or go directly to the hospital commander to complain about their care. The EMT@ the ER was out of line and obviously needs remedial training! Plus, numerous civilian physicians/ providers in military towns are ex-military too. Unfortunately, in your case as well as others, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". I had a similar case but involving my son who was sent to a MD downtown who never follow-up on an X-ray; my son went to see his military doctor 10 months later who wanted to know why he was never treated and his wrist was still broken. Guess what? He's had a bone graft and a screw fixation for the scaphoid fracture and the ortho surgeon says he will never have full range of motion, plus he will probably need a joint replacement when he is older.... Now sueing the miltary, yes dependents have always had that right and they can also sue in behalf of their sponsor if they believe the sponsor was injuried by mistreatment or not meeting standard of care..
    cove61 1 Replies
    • November 5, 2008
    • 06:05 PM
    • 0
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  • I have reviewed my original response and agree with myself. I still think your original damage was whiplash, undiagnosed, left to progress to premature disc degeneration. Please read: http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article819.html http://www.adlergiersch.com/personal-injury-articles/personal-injury-articles/a-summary-of-medical-evidence-of-disc-injuries-during-whiplash http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1755634&blobtype=pdf :cool:
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • November 7, 2008
    • 00:16 AM
    • 0
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  • Cove61, I am very sorry about your son, that is a miserable injury to deal with as well! :( I don't believe I said all military hositals or doctors were a problem, for the most part they are not. I was merely relating an issue I experienced. We did go to the Patient Care Advisor, to the Patient Advocate and eventually to the hospital commander with the problem. After trying to deal with them I moved to an off-base provider, and that is when I was taken seriously. The member can also bring suit as long as the injury and mistreatment or misdiagnosis is not directly related to their military service. :rolleyes: My dear Monster, you can be dilutional all you wish. You are NOT a medical professional (obviously), nor are you apparently capable of understanding a post. I was not asking for a diagnosis or second opinion from anyone, the injury had already been addressed and finally treated properly. I merely wanted to inform others of my problems within the mlitary medical community and the erroneous idea that we cannot sue the military hospitals and/or doctors that mistreat and misdiagnose us. Plus the state statute of limitations warning should they decide to look into a suit.Your links are not relevent to my case, and as you only know minimal information about the mechanics and means of my injury plus little to nothing of the extensive battery of tests I have undergone it does not surprise me. You do not have suffcient information to form a cognative diagnosis let alone suggest treatment of any kind. You don't listen/read when someone says you are wrong, nor apparently are you capable of even entertaining the idea that you might be. It makes about as much sense as me posting various psychiatric links to diagnosis' I feel are relevent to you based on your posts and then arguing that I am right. Post "for fun" elsewhere dear, or at least make your responses relevent to the post.
    DSchaeffer 3 Replies
    • November 7, 2008
    • 05:52 AM
    • 0
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  • I'm not a doctor or anything... but I am diagnosing MONSTER as crazy! In this case, don't think you have to be a doctor to make that diagnosis. :)My husband had a massive heart attack because he wasn't listened to! He was kicked out of the doctor's office because he was taking up too much of the doctor's time. Was told if he wanted to discuss more than one problem he would need to make another appointment. Well, two weeks later and another doctor's appt and still no relief from severe chest pain, high blood pressure, sweating profusely, etc... and within 48 hours of the second appt a massive heart attack. WHY? Because two doctors failed to listen to him!!!! Rather than an EKG or a listen to his heart... the doctor prescribed Allegra and nose spray for allergies! Ridiculous! Now he has permanent damage to over 1/2 of his heart and will be on 10-12 meds for the rest of his life. Needless to say, our lives are forever changed!!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I'm not a doctor or anything... but I am diagnosing MONSTER as crazy! In this case, don't think you have to be a doctor to make that diagnosis. :) My husband had a massive heart attack because he wasn't listened to! He was kicked out of the doctor's office because he was taking up too much of the doctor's time. Was told if he wanted to discuss more than one problem he would need to make another appointment. Well, two weeks later and another doctor's appt and still no relief from severe chest pain, high blood pressure, sweating profusely, etc... and within 48 hours of the second appt a massive heart attack. WHY? Because two doctors failed to listen to him!!!! Rather than an EKG or a listen to his heart... the doctor prescribed Allegra and nose spray for allergies! Ridiculous! Now he has permanent damage to over 1/2 of his heart and will be on 10-12 meds for the rest of his life. Needless to say, our lives are forever changed!! Wow, I am sorry for all you and your husband have gone through, but please know that there are alternatives to taking "10-12 MEDS FOR LIFE"...drug interactions are a leading cause of death in the US, and many drugs are unnecessary and dangerous. Please do your research before you go this route - www.drugs.com is an invaluable resource and you can click on their drug interactions to check for interactions with his meds. I am an Oriental medical practitioner and know there are other ways to help the body heal. Acupuncture may be helpful. There are excellent supplements to help the heart function. Find a doc who is open to CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) if you can. I work with other doctors and have often gotten my patients off medications that were causing them problems. You have choices. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi. Sorry to hear about your chronic pain ***l. :( I can relate to your pain & emotions(lesser extent). Chronic & misdiagnosed pain is brutal. However, from your story; you may still have legal remedies. You will stand to benefit from specific research to learn Statute of Limitation loopholes, starting here :). EVEN THOUGH it's past the SoL, you still may be able to sue for medical malpractice; suits regarding it & personal injury are different & SoL can vary w/ circumstances. Please read this in its entirety & for it to make sense, in order. I’m choosing to type over a much needed nap b/c it would be so wonderful to really help someone. Please reply. Say if it’s relevant to you or not. 1st, I don't get why doctors didn't order MRI's sooner. Damaged discs, even if not completely, have parts displaced (even if VERY minutely) that can press on bigger nerves causing radiating numbness & pain to where nerves travel & branch (your leg). Those are textbook symptoms of bulging/protruding/herniated discs - VERY common & distinct to disc injury. Perhaps, more importantly; had docs discovered the real issue sooner, other treatments could have been tried BEFORE you needed surgical intervention (correct/applicable phys. therapy, injections (nerve blocks/ablation), L-spine traction, anti-inflammatory meds w/ pain meds & muscle relaxers, massages, heat/ice, TENs, etc.). Surgery of this type is truly supposed to be the last resort; it's risky & dangerous w/ a low success rate. Part of the legal basis can be your (again) VERY distinct & indicative symptoms which SHOULD NOT have led to so many missed diagnoses. 2nd, why your MRI didn't "show" disc damage is so unbelievable it probably is! Unless the MRI used is of REALLY poor quality; there is no way that damage that extreme would not be picked up! I bet that an X-ray could even be diagnostically relevant to your disc herniation (the positions of close vertebrae). This means 1 or both of 2 things: 1: The MRI images were poor quality (like movement during test as only a VERY tiny, unintentional & even unperceivable (by you) is all it takes to ruin the picture) & the tech administering the test missed & didn’t restart it; resulting in blurry/inconclusive images. Or there could have been a technical error, weird “lighting,” a bad print of the images, etc. Either way, EVEN if the results WERE deemed conclusive, given your distinct symptoms & lack of improvement over time; I would still argue that your doc should have ordered a new MRI in a couple months to check for changes. If you saw a new doc, he should have ordered a new, more relevant MRI, too. OR 2: A trained professional misread the images. (I have protruding cervical discs. Considered slight, (yet painful) - a protrusion is much less obvious than what you had BUT mine were still easily noted post-MRI.) If the wrong part of your spine was ordered OR scanned (a long shot), that’s more evidence for you. You REALLY should check into this. Get copies of MRI's evaluated by another medical professional (or 2-3 but it will probably cost $) & see what he thinks. If a new set of eyes finds there were indeed disc problems missed by prior docs, that could EASILY be the basis of a suit. The SoL for personal injuries is generally 4 years post-accident (thus you can't go after the driver now). HOWEVER, the SoL for medical malpractice is determined differently. In fact, it's generally based on "discovery;" the moment the malpractice is found, or discovered, which is NOT necessarily when the malpractice occurred. You could absolutely argue that discovery was when the neuro-surgeon (?) performed surgery, or basically, when he found what was actually wrong. Again, for the purposes of med. mal. (not pers. injury), the moment the disc damage was found is likely “discovery” in your case. If you can get (a) medical professional(s) to confirm there was clear & evident disc damage BEFORE your neuro finally found it; that may demonstrate malpractice based on the negligent manner it was mis/undiagnosed. Because of delay, the damage was not treated soon or appropriately (when it perhaps clearly could have been as per your previous MRI, or even just your chronic, ongoing symptoms), forming a basis. If you can further show your symptoms where residual damage from the accident & not unrelated & or happened later (like spontaneously or through some indirect or direct fault of your own - ie, you bent over and randomly blew the discs), it will REALLY help you. (Because the responsible party will always try to prove otherwise – like how a liable insurance co. always pull the "She didn't get hurt in the car accident. There’s no evidence her symptoms are a direct result. They developed later, not immediately after the accident. She was fine onsite, thus (our) responsibility can't be proven. People always try to blame the car accident for unrelated injuries & unjustly blame on us" bull%#&* maneuvers; which is why insurance cos. sometimes get out of fully paying what they are responsible). I really think you should research similar cases to your story from your state, as well as "failure to refer” & “failure to diagnose.” Back to the "discovery" concept - here's a fictitious example to help explain “discovery” & how it applies to you. (It’s a long example, but the symptoms are meant to mirror residual $ & life consequences you experienced, albeit via vastly different circumstances): Example: A patient gets severe abdominal pain & is rushed to the ER. A surgeon performs an emergency appendectomy; ruled a success. The patient recovers as expected & lives normally in good health post-surgery. However, 5 yrs later, she develops pain in her lower left abdomen. Assume a 4 yr malpractice SoL. She also develops other symptoms: fatigue, vomiting, & difficulty & pain passing stool. Her symptoms are fairly common & indicative of many different, common, & manageable conditions. She is given myriad treatments & medications, but nonetheless, over time her symptoms continue to worsen. Because docs can't find anything medically wrong w/ her, they assume she is exaggerating her condition, which takes a heavy emotionally toll on her. As her pain gradually intensifies, it begins to be unbearable. Her enjoyment of life greatly decreases. She finds herself missing work more or more & never seeing friends/family, & ultimately loses her job as she becomes bed-bound more often than not. Simple chores & self-care are a struggle to maintain. She is deemed a drug-seeker as she asks for better meds to manage her now crippling pain. Even her family starts to doubt her symptoms are real & tell her to “suck it up”, causing even more emotional distress & even making her doubt she can live like this anymore, w/o even a diagnosis or treatment help in view. The patient continues, though struggling, to pull herself together to keep seeing new docs in hopes of finding a cure or treatment. She desperately tries any medications (often w/ neg. side effects), treatments, & suggestions they give her, submits to all, even the most expensive tests; but still has no applicable answer. One night, at 3am, she awakes abruptly in agonizing, excruciating pain, much worse than usual. She crawls to the bathroom to clean up what seems like an uncontrollable bowel movement, but the light reveals her nightgown is sopping wet w/ blood. Rushed to the ER, physicians struggle to pinpoint her (now) potentially fatal symptoms. Tests show a high white count; nothing else. With no idea what is causing the horrific pain & terrifying hemorrhage, & knowing they must act fast, her doc performs emergency exploratory surgery as a last resort to save her life. In surgery, he immediately spots a surgical instrument: a scalpel that was left inside her abdomen from the appendectomy. It perforated her bowel. Scar tissue has enveloped the scalpel, blocking 90% of its diameter. He also finds a huge abscess & must thoroughly debride the area & remove part of her large intestine. The surgery was successful, but post-op IV antibiotics for 2mos were needed to prevent a deadly infection. Most of her symptoms went away after the surgery.. Lawsuit damages ($): $1000s in med. bills (med. expenses), missed work & lost job (economic damages); & acute & chronic pain, drastically altered lifestyle, emotional toll, still has pain, 100s of hrs of appts, myriad unnecessary treatments (non-economic damages; pain & suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent injuries). Because the scalpel was left in her abdomen 8 yrs ago & SoL is 4 yrs, one could assume no legal remedy. HOWEVER, because there was no way of knowing, even after symptoms' onset, DISCOVERY of the scalpel occurred the DAY OF exploratory surgery; patient’s 4 yr SoL to file a suit for med. malpractice begins day of explr. surg. I really encourage you to look into this from a discovery POV rather than accident date. You very well may be able to file suit & perhaps collect damages. Do research! There is MUCH much more info that would help you to read/find. Knowledge is power. Keep us posted. Good luck & best wishes. :)~KR PS: Please, if you have time, kindly read my recent PTVS post in this forum & reply. No one has yet. :( It would be a lovely reciprocation. Everybody could use a little hope or empathy, including me. PPS: This webpage outlines what you can sue for personal injury; malpractice is similar but different: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/lws10.htm
    misskr 17 Replies Flag this Response
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  • And agreed with everyone else... that person has no idea about the structure of the neck and what a whiplash injury to in entails. You don't get squished discs in your lumbar region from soft tissue strains/damage in your neck. Really. Not even close. If something in one's neck or back is off, it can pull other parts out of place with it causing pain elsewhere (which is why physical therapy can be really helpful for some people)... but it has nothing to do with your injury. Chiropractic care has its (very limited) uses... most people in bad car accidents rarely just have "subluxations." Chiropractors are generally about the worst at telling you there just might be something else "wrong" with you. I wasted a painful year of my life seeing a chiropractic 3-4x a week. 10 months into it, after asking at nearly every appointment why I wasn't getting better, if there could possibly be anything else wrong with me, why I was still getting migraine headaches that would wipe me out completely for 2-3 days at a time, and if there was anything else I could do and being told "No" every single time and to schedule more appointments... my chiro began telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and that I was causing my own pain. I "stayed up all night reading" and "partied all night too much." That's why I still had pain. Except that I did neither of those things because even taking a shower and making it to college was a struggle w/ how bad my pain was; reading for pleasure or getting out to see my friends (who wondered why I'd completely fallen off the planet) was not even a remote possibility with how horrific I felt. I actually believed there was nothing wrong with me because of this convincing man, desperate to make dirty money off of me by convincing me it was all in my head but he could fix me. I had extensive postural imbalance, protruding cervical discs, and something called Post Traumatic Visual Syndrome. Had I NEVER gone to a chiro, I would have started getting better a YEAR sooner.
    misskr 17 Replies Flag this Response
  • And agreed with everyone else... that person has no idea about the structure of the neck and what a whiplash injury to in entails. You don't get squished discs in your lumbar region from soft tissue strains/damage in your neck. Really. Not even close. If something in one's neck or back is off, it can pull other parts out of place with it causing pain elsewhere (which is why physical therapy can be really helpful for some people)... but it has nothing to do with your injury. Chiropractic care has its (very limited) uses... most people in bad car accidents rarely just have "subluxations." Chiropractors are generally about the worst at telling you there just might be something else "wrong" with you. I wasted a painful year of my life seeing a chiropractic 3-4x a week. 10 months into it, after asking at nearly every appointment why I wasn't getting better, if there could possibly be anything else wrong with me, why I was still getting migraine headaches that would wipe me out completely for 2-3 days at a time, and if there was anything else I could do and being told "No" every single time and to schedule more appointments... my chiro began telling me that there was nothing wrong with me and that I was causing my own pain. I "stayed up all night reading" and "partied all night too much." That's why I still had pain. Except that I did neither of those things because even taking a shower and making it to college was a struggle w/ how bad my pain was; reading for pleasure or getting out to see my friends (who wondered why I'd completely fallen off the planet) was not even a remote possibility with how horrific I felt. I actually believed there was nothing wrong with me because of this convincing man, desperate to make dirty money off of me by convincing me it was all in my head but he could fix me. I had extensive postural imbalance, protruding cervical discs, and something called Post Traumatic Visual Syndrome. Had I NEVER gone to a chiro, I would have started getting better a YEAR sooner. Wow, you went to a very bad chiro IMO...10 months of chiro 3-4x per week?!? First of all, if anyone goes to a chiro and they don't feel any different after let's say 1-2 weeks, then I'd discontinue treatment! Some chiropractors are notorious for wanting patients to continue treatment indefinitely. But there ARE good chiros out there - you need to shop around for a good one, or try acupuncture (again, shop around for an acupuncturist as well - www.acufinder.com). Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3080 Replies Flag this Response
  • I assume you were mistreated at a VA Medical Center (a VAMC). VAMCs are part of a US government agency, so medical malpractice claims arising from substandard care that gave rise to your injuries could not be directed at individual doctors or medical personnel, but against the VA, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) which imposes a very tight 2 year statute of limitations, with one, or possibly two little known exceptions. A medical error is typically a one-time event. For instance, a surgeon cuts off the wrong leg. But your situation may involve an "on-going tort" that doesn't toll from the initial event, but from the last event in a series of related events. VAMCs are often understaffed and under budgeted. A profile of their typical client is a poorly educated, unsophisticated unemployed male veteran with a history of substance abuse problems. So medical personnel tend to treat most patients as if they fit that profile. You're all drug seekers and malingerers and you exaggerate or fabricate your medical problems. This is called stereotype bias. VA doctors don't have to build or finance a practice. They don't pay malpractice premiums. They see a lot of patients in relatively short visits. And they're virtually immune from any adverse action that could be taken against them if they screw up a patient's care. There's supposed to be peer review. If a doctor's negligence results in a successful FTCA medical malpractice action, the MDs in his management hierarchy are supposed to report him to the state licensing authority. But instead these doctors close ranks, support each other and refuse to report any of their peers or subordinates. FTCA claims don't allow damages for "pain and suffereing". You have to first file an administrative active against the VA. Wait six months and if they don't offer you a settlement you are then entitled to sue. You must file your claim in a federal district court and specify your claimed damages "sum certain" up front. I feel badly for your pain and suffering. I wish I could have heard your story much earlier. I've had problems with VAMCs as well and they seem to be intractable from the standpoint of positive resolution, continuing to plague me now for over seven years.
    bearhugs 8 Replies Flag this Response
  • 10 years ago (3/98) we were hit by a drunk driver, she had no insurance so USAA settled for the limit of our policy (less than 1 years pay as a CNA).I was transported to a local AF base where the EMT stated to the triage nurse that I was "fine" as she had seen me "run approximately 40 yards back to our vehicle without seeming defect". What she failed to tell them was that after doing so I was doubled up in the back of my demolished van with back spasms that hurt so badly I was throwing up. I waited on the back board and gurney, in the open hallway, ignored for almost 2 hours when my husband finally arrived and basically asked "what the ***l?". They did routine xrays and sent me home with a sheet for care of muscle spasms, a "look out for" symptoms sheet and a script for motrin and robaxin for 5 days. That was the beginning of a nightmare that went something like this: 1> After going back in about a week later complaining of increased low back pain with "fire ants" in my left hip radiating to my knee I was told that I was fine, that all I wanted was the money (what money?) and to go home and work in the garden I was "just stiff". They gave me a script for lortab and flexeril and sent me home.2> I went back in complaining of weakness in my left leg and no relief from the pain and spasms. They sent me to P/T and slightly increased the medications.3> After going through the revolving doors of doctors, nurse practioners, and PA's I was sent to a pain management clinic for "better medications" and was put on morphine based medications, valium and Lyrica.4> I was still not getting relief so I was still "complaining", which earned me a "drug seeking" notation in my medical history and referral to a "specialized pain management in-patient facility". Well, after checking in we discovered it was NOT what they said it was.. it was a drug and alcohol rehab facility! Unfortunately, by the ime I was done with "supervised withdrawal symptoms" (fun times!) I learned that if I checked out I would be responsible for the bill to that point! By the time I was released, these "counselors" had convinced me that I was a drug addict in denial AND being told repeatedly that my marriage was a "fantasy" because "no-one has a partner or relationship that good". My response.. "maybe yours wasn't, but mine is".5> Still having the same problems I went back and was sent to the base neurologist. This doctor orders an MRI, sees nothing so he tells us I have permanent nerve damage (based on the radiating pain etc), that nothing can be done and I will be on medications the rest of my life, re-enter the morphine medications, valium and lyrica in ever increasing doses.6> After 8 years of this I asked for an off-base PCM. After 1 1/2 months of waiting I finally had a GOOD dotor. He got me into a pain management specialist at a sports medicine specialty clinic near us, who got me a referral to an excellent neurosurgeon. The surgeon ordered another MRI with and without contrast, and still couldn't find the answer so he ordered a discogram (oh my goodness this is PAINFUL!!) which finally gave him the answer, at this point I had been in bed for almost a year. A week later he had approval from Tricare to fuse my L5-S1 disc and flex-fuse L4-5. I spend 3 days in the hospital, 6 weeks in the brace and after 12 weeks was released pain free and OFF the medications. The surgeon told us he was sorry I had suffered so long, and that it was needless as the damage could have been repaired "long" ago. I lost 10 years of employment, education possibilities, playing with our 12 grandchildren, and being a "productive" housewife and partner for my husband (of 20 years next month). I still have residual nerve damage and weakness in my left leg, but I have a life again, something I thought I would never have. In fact about 6 weeks before the surgery I had told my hubby "I don't want to be here anymore".. meaning alive. That is what living with horrible chronic pain and being told "nothing is wrong with you" for so long can do to a person. I spoke with an attorney about a possible misdiagnosis/malpractice suit against the base, but was told I was "beyond Florida's 2/4 year statute of limitations". How was I supposed to know WHAT was actually wrong AND that I was misdiagnosed?? :rolleyes: Anyway, a moot point now. *Word of advice to military members and their spouses, You CAN sue the military for medical malpractice/misdiagnosis without threat to your (or your spouses) career. Just be certain of your state's statute of limitations!!!!! I hope this little bit of venting saves someone else from the same painful experience and gives them the option I didn't know about.I have been going through severe, chronic back pain for years. All that's ever been done for me is motrin, the lowest dosage pain meds, which is basically like taking Bayer aspirin, and just recently, sent to a pain management clinic (military) that gave me steroid injections. When I was stationed in Alaska, the pain clinic there (civilian) absolutely had it down pat!!! My back pain was more than manageable, and, i was able to live a some-what active life. I get down to the area I'm at now, and, even though my pain doctor sent his notes an records on me, and how to do the injections correctly, it still didn't work. This is because they place the injections in wrong place, and get this, didn't give me any sedation, I FELT EVERYTHING!!!! For the past 2 weeks, I've been BEGGING for stronger pain meds, and been denied. The military pain clinic and the my military doctor at the base "hobby shop" are arguing as to who is in charge of my pain meds...I'm miserable, depressed, and tired of waking up every day in pain...
    crash14 1 Replies
    • January 30, 2011
    • 07:17 PM
    • 0
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