Pennsylvania PTSD never properly diagnosed or treated

A federal judge awarded a former soldier $3.7 million concerning a hospital’s failure to properly diagnose or provide treatment concerning the veteran’s post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The veteran in question lives in Pennsylvania, and the lawsuit named a VA Hospital here in Pennsylvania as well.

It is asserted that a failure to treat the PTSD in a timely fashion contributed to the soldier’s rapid decline. Though a diagnosis of PTSD had been made four months earlier, the VA Hospital never allowed for him to see a physician. Instead, it appears that he was “administered a medication that would result in self-medication with and addictive substance.”

The court record showed that the soldier and his wife attempted to contact the VA hospital on at least ten separate occasions concerning his condition. However, the soldier’s condition deteriorated so drastically that he eventually dressed himself up in black and broke into a pharmacy with the apparent intent of stealing drugs.

Though PTSD has in the past been ignored by physicians, it has become increasingly apparent that doctors and hospitals need to take this condition seriously. Too many soldiers have come back from the current Mideast conflicts unable to cope with everyday situations for medical staff to any longer ignore their mental and emotional state.

This is not to say that proving up such a claim will be simple. Medical malpractice attorneys will still need to show why treatments were inappropriate, why vital clues concerning the patient’s condition was missed, and why the patient’s condition would have been greatly improved if medical staff would have used more due diligence in correctly diagnosing what was wrong.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Pennsylvania veteran awarded $3.7 M in suit against VA,” by Saranac Hale Spencer, Jan. 21, 2013