According to VT Digger, a Vermont Newspaper, Veteran Wesley Black has filed a military medical malpractice lawsuit against the White River Junction VA Medical Center. After Black had gone to the medical center in 2013 for intestinal issues, he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome without receiving any tests. Again in 2014 and then 2016, Black returned to the facility when his pain did not go away. It wasn’t until February of 2017 when Black was admitted to the emergency room of the VA Medical Center with rectal bleeding, that doctors ordered a colonoscopy and found he had stage 4 colon cancer.
In 2018, Black was referred to Dr. Thomas Abrams, a physician at the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who assessed Black and determined his IBS symptoms were actually the early signs of colon cancer that had developed as a result of Black’s exposure to burn pits while on tours with the National Guard. In response, Black filed a lawsuit against the VA, alleging that his improper diagnosis kept him from getting appropriate treatment earlier and allowed the cancer to develop to a now-terminal stage.
Attorneys for the VA have argued that Black should have known in 2017 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer that the IBS diagnosis was incorrect, and therefore he did not file his lawsuit with the applicable two-year statute of limitations. Black has argued that he thought he had both IBS and colon cancer, and did not learn that the original IBS diagnosis was incorrect until 2018 when he was referred to Dr. Abrams.
How We Can Help: Misdiagnosis at a Military Facility
Most medical malpractice claims are barred by a statute of limitations, so it is very important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible if you believe that you or someone you know may have a claim from a misdiagnosis at a military facility.