An Indiana resident is suing his local Veterans Affairs hospital claiming he received permanent injuries from a botched procedure.
United States Marine Corps veteran Tony Yeary filed the federal lawsuit this week.
According to court documents, the treatment he received at the Richard Roudebush Urology Clinic left him with such severe and permanent injuries, he has been advised to undergo a procedure placing a catheter through his abdomen to drain his bladder.
Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Jody Madeira says Yeary is an anomaly among veterans for choosing to take legal action. She says while malpractice happens in all sorts of hospitals, veterans are less likely to sue because they’re either poor or don’t want to be contrarian to the system.
“I think sometimes it’s harder to bring a case against an establishment like a VA because you have plaintiffs who aren’t as savvy,” Madeira says.
According to documents, Dr. Nick Wei-En Liu inappropriately jabbed an inspection tool into Yeary’s urethra after he was administered only a small amount of local anesthesia.
Yeary says he was left alone in his hospital room in pain, bleeding, and the following day his doctor admitted he forgot to prescribe Yeary any painkillers.
A month later, Yeary underwent surgery at the same clinic and was promised Dr. Liu would not operate on him. But Yeary awoke from his procedure to see Dr. Liu, and says he caused him new injuries by puncturing his prostate.
Madeira says among malpractice cases, Yeary’s is especially heart wrenching.
“These people gave so much to sacrifice for their countries and they come back and they’re treated very poorly,” Madeira says.
Yeary has obtained outside treatment from another physician at the IU Health Department of Urology in Indianapolis. The Veterans Administration did not return calls to comment.
The lawsuit comes as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is being scrutinized for dozens of veterans who died because of what some say is failed oversight and delays in medical care.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testified on Capitol Hill yesterday, saying that if the allegations are true, the behavior is “unacceptable.”
The VA is already conducting an investigation into a Phoenix facility, which has been the center of much of the debate, but Shinseki has also ordered an audit of VA facilities nationwide.