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Veterans Affairs reportedly hires doctors with malpractice claims

A recent USA Today investigation has uncovered the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hires physicians and other medical personnel that have had disciplinary action taken against them before.

In one instance, reporters uncovered that at one midwestern VA facility, a neurosurgeon working there had previously had at least a dozen medical malpractice claims filed against him in two different states. He'd previously been accused of having caused a surgical errors that ultimately resulted in his patients suffering permanent injuries, paralysis and death.

There's another instance in which that same physician was accused of having compromised the normal functioning of both a patient's bowel and bladder after incorrectly placing screws in the patient's spinal cord. The physician had his medical license revoked in at least one state after a patient's post-surgical death.

When applying for his VA job, despite having reported these indiscretions, he was hired on for the role. The facility he works for currently serves some 184,000 veterans. Since taking his post in April of this year, he's already been accused of various botched surgeries that have required subsequent revisions. His errors are also believed to have resulted in one patient's death.

Investigators found that what occurred with the hiring of this doctor is not an isolated event. They also uncovered the case of a psychologist working for the VA who had multiple felony convictions as well.

When instances such as this were brought to the VA's attention, they noted that they would appoint a third party investigation firm to further look into the matter.

They did reiterate, however, that their hiring policy is generally rigorous. It's supposed to involve checking references, verifying licensing and education records and conducting in-depth interviews. In addition, any clinical hires are required to sit for questioning from a professional ethics board before a job offer can be extended.

Families of the neurosurgeon's latest victims say that litigation is pending against the physician.

If you've suffered debilitating injuries at the hands of a physician, especially one that has a history of negligence, then a Chicago medical malpractice attorney may advise you of your right to file a lawsuit.

Source: USA Today, "USA TODAY Investigation: VA knowingly hires doctors with past malpractice claims, discipline for poor care," Donovan Slack, Dec. 03, 2017

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