In its “FOIA Friday” feature, the Project On Government Oversight reveals a spreadsheet (XLS format) of claims against the Department of Veterans Affairs, including thousands related to medical malpractice.
The spreadsheet lists administrative claims, the first step in the VA’s process for filing claims.
Nick Schwellenbach explains more about the data:
The data provided has details on over 12,000 claims against the VA from 1989 to November 2008, although the data appears largely incomplete for the first several years. Not all of the claims are medical malpractice-related, but several thousand are. There are fields for the VA facility involved, the date the claim was received, the date of the last tort status (where the claim is in the administrative process), the date of that status, alleged negligence descriptions (none exist for non-medical malpractice tort cases), and amount paid out, if any. The spreadsheet is over two years old, so the latest tort status field may be out-of-date for many of these claims.
The spreadsheet includes 16 cases in which more than $1 million was paid out. The descriptions of the allegations are pretty vague but those 16 cases include:
- Failure To Obtain Consent or /Lack Of Informed Consent; Improper Technique; Improper Performance; Improper Management; Delay In Diagnosis; Failure To Treat; Failure To Order Appropriate Medication; Failure To Monitor; Failure To Diagnose (i.e., Concluding That Patient Has No Disease or Condit[ion)]
- Failure To Respond To Patient
- Surgical or Other Foreign Body Retained
- Unnecessary Procedure; Intubation Problem; Improperly Performed Test; Improper Management
It’s worth noting that another recent “FOIA Friday” also was related to health. It was a letter sent by the National Institutes of Health to Emory University “after the media exposed Dr. Zachary Stowe’s cozy financial relationship with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) while also receiving NIH grants to study antidepressants like GSK’s Paxil in pregnant women.”