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Veterans’ psychiatric maladies often misdiagnosed

Many veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from a variety of mental ailments brought on by what they have seen. Too often, these same veterans are being turned away from various VA Hospitals and are not receiving the treatment that they need. Now such hospitals are finding their selves on the wrong side of accusations in their failure to diagnose mental and psychiatric issues that are being presented.

One such matter involves a widow from Lexington, Kentucky whose husband committed suicide after the VA Hospital there declined to provide him with treatment. Sadly, similar claims are being made in other VA Hospitals throughout the country. Another veteran was hearing voices but doctors refused to have the man admitted because they did not consider him to be a threat to himself or anyone else. He also later committed suicide.

Admittedly, psychiatric diagnosis are possibly the most difficult to make at least on any consistent basis. What sometimes appears to pose a problem may turn out to be a false alarm whereas a similar circumstance may turn into a tragedy. Yet medical professionals need to take the necessary precautions because a misdiagnosis can lead to devastating consequences.

Because of the complexity of this area, attorneys bringing medical malpractice claims based on a failure to diagnose a psychiatric problem require both legal and medical knowledge to make their case. They will need to sift through the patient’s history and look for obvious indications that something was missed.

Veterans in particular are owed a large duty of care because of the job they have and the sacrifices they have made. Medical professionals need to be held accountable when mistakes are made concerning their care.

Source: Digital Journal, “Veteran’s Medical Center is a disgrace for Veterans,” by Nicole Byerly, April 16, 2012

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