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Veteran Sues VA after Embattled Doctor Bungled Surgery

The mission statement for The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) is, “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.”(VA.gov) Wouldn’t you think the VA would make an extra effort to be sure veterans receive the care they need and deserve?

“The VA has a long history of hiring those who no one else will and putting them in positions of trust.”(TheDailyCaller.com) There have been numerous cases in which the VA has hired a doctor who had previously been disciplined in another state. One such case happened right here in South Carolina.

Kevin Langager, a Navy veteran went to the VA in Columbia, South Carolina with a blocked artery in his leg in December of 2015. He said the vascular surgeon, Dr. Alan Koslow, botched the surgery, “gutting him like a fish.”

After the bungled surgery, Langager researched Dr. Koslow online and found that in October of 2015, Dr. Alan Koslow had been declared incompetent by the Iowa Board of Medicine. He was fined and placed on probation for incompetence and disruptive behavior. However, the VA then hired him to work in the Columbia, SC hospital.

Langager filed a federal lawsuit, which said Dr. Koslow’s mistakes caused Langager “severe pain, leg weakness, and the need for follow-up treatment.” The VA settled the lawsuit for $950,000.

Koslow denies any wrongdoing in Iowa and South Carolina.

Similar cases have happened in other states:

  • In 2011, a West Virginia VA hospital hired another former Des Moines surgeon, Dr. Robert Finley III, who had been accused of incompetence. His mistakes had caused six deaths, and injuries to three patients.

A West Virginia family sued the VA because Asa Carson died after Finley operated on him three times. The VA agreed to settle that lawsuit for $400,000.

Finley is still listed as a doctor at the West Virginia VA hospital.

  • In April of 2017, The Iowa City VA hospital hired neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, after his Wyoming license had been revoked because of malpractice allegations.

Soon after he was hired, problems started cropping up:

Richard Joseph Hopkins had a benign brain tumor removed, and because of complications, had to have three more brain surgeries before he died from an infection.

James Wehmeyer had spine surgery, then had to have two more operations to clean up infection from the first. The wound wouldn’t heal, so a nurse had to visit him at home every three days to clean out the wound.

“At least three other patients suffered infections after procedures Schneider conducted at the Iowa City VA – two deep-wound and one superficial – but they were cured with antibiotics, Schneider said.”(DesMoinesRegister.com)

Fortunately, Schneider resigned on Nov. 29, 2017, after being sentenced to jail for concealing bankruptcy assets.

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We know how difficult it can be to deal with the immediate and long-term effects of a serious malpractice-related injury. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to make things simple for you. After a free case evaluation, if we believe we can help you and your family, Medical Malpractice Attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put our years of experience to work for you!

Other online references used for this article:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2019/03/06/veterans-affairs-va-hospital-surgeon-alan-koslow-malpractice-iowa-board-medicine-south-carolina/3069666002/

https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/former-billings-neurosurgeon-gets-prison-for-trying-to-hide-assets/article_77d8b2d1-334b-5f50-963b-1f5a9362f195.html