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Failure to Diagnose Multiple Myeloma Results in $325,000 FTCA Settlement

Over an extended period, this veteran had significant pain complaints. His laboratory work was abnormal. He was losing weight without making any effort to do so. The VA Nurse Practitioner just seemed to miss these clear-cut red flags. When one specialist suggested a referral to a hematologist-oncologist, it simply didn’t happen. Even when he was plainly sick, his VA providers dragged their feet.

He died shortly after he was finally diagnosed with multiple myeloma and commenced treatment with a civilian provider. While he responded to chemotherapy, by then he was just too weak to survive. His wife of many years was left without her husband. Their two adult children lost their father.

We filed a claim with the VA. Eventually, it made a nominal offer.

We filed suit in Federal District Court. Fortunately, the Assistant United States Attorney knew what she was doing. It took a little while, but we got the case settled relatively easily.

While we had strong evidence from an internationally renowned oncologist, the veteran’s co-morbidities undercut our argument that he would have had a near normal life expectancy if he had been diagnosed and treated as he should have been. We were also in a jurisdiction where the substantive law was not favorable on “loss of chance” issues, and we faced a $500,000 non-economic cap on damages.

Most law firms would have declined this case. The medicine is complicated, and the damages limited. Rawls Law Group knows how to handle such matters efficiently and effectively.


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