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Veteran in California Seeks Help, Warning Other Veterans

It was shocking to Marine veteran Brian Tally and his family when he woke up one day with back pain. Eager to take charge of the pain, Brian sought medical care from the Loma Linda VA Healthcare System in the emergency department. He was sent home with pain pills and a diagnosis of a sprained lower back.

The pain persisted, and Brian was weary of his diagnosis since there had been no events of trauma to cause a sprain. He then sought help again. A second time, the VA diagnosed him with a sprained back and sent him home once more.

When Brian was experiencing immense 10/10 pain, he decided to take matters out of the hands of the VA healthcare system and seek treatment elsewhere because the VA refused to perform an MRI. He went to a private provider, and then he received an MRI, which he had to pay for out-of-pocket. Brian was finally diagnosed with a bone-eating staph infection that was quickly deteriorating his spine – something that could have been detected earlier with a simple blood test.

After filing a claim on his own, the VA acknowledged there was a breach in the standard of care. VA attorneys contacted Brian and let him know that a financial settlement would likely be forthcoming. But after the California state statute of limitations had expired, he received notice from the VA that there would be no settlement because his VA provider was not actually a VA “employee,” but was instead a private contractor. Brian was shocked. He was completely blindsided by this news because there had been no differentiation between a VA employee that the VA was responsible for and a private contractor. The contractor even had a VA badge, masking the fact that she was not really an “employee” of the VA healthcare system.

Brian then came to us and hired attorney Glen Sturtevant with the Vet4Vet team at Rawls Law Group to help.

Now Brian is working to help prevent other veterans from falling victim to this loophole in the VA healthcare system. Due to federal law, the VA does not accept responsibility when a contractor commits medical malpractice. Brian is working with congressmen to introduce the Tally Bill, his new mission to protect other veterans from this loophole.


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