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VA settles medical malpractice lawsuit over botched urinalysis

When a person in Maryland and other areas of the country experiences excruciating pain and goes to the hospital, he or she expects that medical care professionals will do everything they can to determine the cause of the pain. While professionals at most facilities are dedicated to finding an accurate diagnosis, medical malpractice can lead to a failure to do so. In fact, a man in another state recently settled a lawsuit against a VA hospital; the lawsuit alleged that mishandling a urine sample resulted in misinformation about his condition.

In 2015, the 49-year-old man reportedly went to the VA after experiencing abdominal pain for several days. The pain was so severe, he claims, that he could not stand up straight. Unfortunately, he believes that VA workers swapped his urine sample with that of a cocaine addict. Doctors advised him, according to the lawsuit, to stop consuming cocaine and sent him home.

When his pain did not improve, a friend took him to a different hospital where he claims he was promptly diagnosed with a diseased pancreas and gallbladder in addition to gallstones. He claims that he was negative for cocaine during this treatment and had no previous tests indicating cocaine use. Though the VA claims that it did not mishandle the urine samples, a representative claims that it opted to settle the case for $150,000 to avoid litigation costs. 

The victim in this case says that his decision to file a medical malpractice lawsuit was not motivated by a desire for money. Instead, his intention was to prevent someone else from experiencing similar suffering. Often, filing a lawsuit such as this forces facilities to examine their procedures and make changes. Because the prospect of facing a hospital in court -- especially one connected to the government -- can seem overwhelming, many in Maryland choose to discuss their options with an experienced attorney before determining how to proceed. 

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