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Paralyzed Victim of VA Surgery Malpractice Awarded $725K

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October 14, 2014 — Arkansas Business reports that a veteran from Missouri has been awarded $725,000 for a malpractice claim against the Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital that caused him to suffer from paralysis and chronic pain.

The plaintiff, Walter Paul Hoover, underwent surgery at John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2009, following a bad fall that injured his back.

Unfortunately, the surgeon who operated on his spine misplaced several screws. According to the complaint, this failure caused Hoover to suffer from “paralysis, primarily on the left, including no quadriceps function, numbness, significantly increased pain.”

He had another surgery to fix the misplaced screws, but continues to suffer from complications including chronic pain. He is also primarily confined to a wheelchair.

When the lawsuit was filed in 2011, Hoover originally asked for $5 million in compensation. The claim was denied, but U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. awarded $725,000 in compensation, including $25,000 for loss of consortium with his wife. Counsel for the VA found no evidence of negligence or omissions by any employees of the hospital.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that malpractice payouts from the VA had reached an all-time high of $91.7 million. Since 2001, thousands of claims have been resolved for over $800 million. One of the largest payouts was awarded to Christopher Ellison, a man who suffered permanent brain damage after a routine tooth extraction went wrong. He was awarded $17.5 million.

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