News

March 5, 2015

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.thenewstribune.com

The Department of Veterans Affairs this month agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a Washington man who died in late 2012 after a VA scheduler failed to refer him promptly to specialized care for melanoma.

The settlement between the family of Cliff Douglass and the VA appears to be the largest payout for a wrongful death claim related to a case at VA Puget Sound since 2001, according to records obtained by the Center for Investigative reporting and The News Tribune through the Freedom of Information Act.

“I’m happy for the family that they have some closure,” said Tacoma attorney Jessica Holman Duthie, who represented the Sammamish man’s family. “But it’s nothing (compared) to the pain and suffering he went through.”

Douglass’ sister said the lawsuit led to an internal investigation and helped her understand that the incident led to changes at the VA.

“I don’t think we can ask for more than that,” Connie Olberg said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle confirmed the settlement but declined to comment.

The case received widespread media attention last spring as allegations surfaced describing VA employees misrepresenting long delays in care for its patients in Phoenix. That scandal led to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation in May and prompted Congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing a backlog in care for the nation’s largest hospital network.

“Clearly my…

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