Medical Error Causes Pain, Suffering for Marine Veteran

Every year, 440,000 patients are killed in America by preventable medical errors, and countless more are injured.

Among those who have been injured by a medical error is United States Marine veteran Tony Yeary. 

Yeary was experiencing urinary problems and sought treatment in a VA hospital. A recent Indianapolis Star feature outlines the painful ordeal Yeary went through:

Tony Yeary had trouble urinating, so he went to see a doctor at the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis.

What happened once he got there in May 2012 is recounted, in gruesome detail, in a lawsuit that the 60-year-old Marine veteran filed against the VA last week in federal court in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis resident's suit describes a medical experience with scenes that harken to medieval times: Little or no painkillers used during a painful medical procedure. Brute force from doctors trying to insert objects in a body cavity. A blood-spattered patient left to fend for himself.

The lawsuit comes as the VA system nationally is under renewed fire from patients and others for disregarding patient safety, maintaining secret waiting lists for patients seeking care and handing out bonuses to top administrators with little connection to job performance.

Our veterans deserve better care. If errors occur, we must hold wrong-doers accountable, especially those that are tasked with caring for our veterans. Any restriction on accountability or the rights of injured patients is an injustice that removes incentives to improve patient care. 

However, states such as Indiana have passed offensive laws aimed at eliminating patients’ access to justice. Unlike many states that limit the recovery of only non-economic damages, state lawmakers in Indiana capped both non-economic and economic damages.  

Our country is facing a medical error epidemic. We need more accountability, not less. If you or a loved one has suffered from a medical error, share your story with us. Help us tell the public and lawmakers what’s at stake.