Family blames Veterans Affairs for man's death

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 3, 2011

CHARLESTON -- The family of a deceased West Virginia veteran is suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for wrongful death and medical negligence.

Robert L. Bailey Jr., on behalf of the estate of his father Robert L. Bailey, filed a federal tort claim complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Friday.

Robert L. Bailey, a veteran and West Virginia resident, was a patient at the Beckley Veterans Hospital. He had complained of symptoms of chest congestion, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath and weakness.

According to his son's lawsuit, "radiological studies properly reviewed and interpreted placed lung cancer squarely within the differential diagnosis."

However, diagnostic testing was delayed and follow-up care and investigation into the proper differential diagnosis was not performed, the suit alleges.

Robert L. Bailey died from cancer on Jan. 25, 2007.

"The United States of America, through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Beckley Veterans Hospital, undertook to be the deceased Robert Bailey's medical professional care provider and failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable prudent health care provider in the profession or class to which the health care providers at the Beckley Veterans Hospital belong acting in the same or similar circumstances," the lawsuit said.

"Such failure proximately caused deceased, Robert L. Bailey, to suffer a delay in treatment of cancer, pain and suffering, loss of opportunities, loss of enjoyment of life, and eventually his death."

The delay in treatment also resulted in a loss of opportunity for a cure, his son's suit alleges.

The man's estate, represented by Timothy P. Lupardus of Pineville, is seeking damages.

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