Three Veterans Die by Suicide in One Week at VA Facilities
Veterans advocacy groups are pleading for the inspectors general of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services to promptly begin a joint investigation after three veterans took their own lives at VA facilities in just one week. According to VA representatives, since 2017 the department has tracked 260 suicide attempts at its facilities, with 240 of those having been interrupted.
As many as 20 veterans are dying by suicide each day. This is a tragically preventable number that reflects one and a half times higher than the civilian population’s suicide rate. Obviously, this group of American heroes is pleading for help.
Any veteran, family member, or friend concerned about a veteran’s mental health should contact the 24/7 Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255.
Experience Representing Veterans and Their Families
At Levin & Perconti, our expert legal team handles all types of litigation arising from veteran related cases for clients in both the Chicago area and throughout the state of Illinois. In 2018, attorneys Michael Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black and Cari Silverman brought a suit on behalf of a veteran who did not receive the help he deserved and died while in ambulatory transport to Edward Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital. The attorneys argued that given the veteran’s medical history, he should have been carefully monitored by medical staff to protect and prevent him from injuring himself during the transfer. Hospital nurses also faulted for failing to relay information to the paramedics about his mental state and suicidal behaviors.
Medical records also revealed that the man had a history of PTSD and that his actions before arrival at the hospital caused him to be a potential danger to himself or others. The team of paramedics claimed they were unaware that the vet was a psychiatric patient and a threat to himself due to the lack of information on the transfer form. The hospital and nurses were sued for negligence under the Survival Act and the Wrongful Death Act. The ambulance company and paramedics were sued for willful and wanton conduct also under the Survival Act and Wrongful Death Act.
Compensation Through the VA for Injuries Caused by the VA
A veteran injured in a VA hospital (or other facilities) does have options to pursue disability compensation through the VA and/or file an administrative claim for damages under the Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA). For claims pertaining to hospital care, treatment, surgery, or an exam, a veteran must prove that the VA caused the injury or death through:
- an event that could not have been reasonably expected to occur
- error in judgment
- lack of proper skill
- other faults
This is a sensitive time for veterans in America. It’s best to speak with an attorney experienced in veteran disability compensation and related injuries or wrongful death about filing a claim.
The Legal Team at Levin & Perconti Can Help Your Family
If you believe a veteran close to you has suffered wrongful death or injury due to a failure by medical staff, VA or not, compensation may be entitled. Call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to speak with a lawyer. You may also contact us online through our website to set up a case evaluation consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
All consultations are free, and we work on a contingent fee basis, so there are no fees for our services unless we successfully assist and resolve your case during this difficult time.
Also read: Veterans’ Nursing Home Care Remains Dismal