Wednesday, December 06, 2017
The Department of Veterans Affairs has knowingly hired doctors with trails of misconduct allegations, licensing problems, malpractice accusations, and patient settlements, according to a recent USA Today investigation. In fact, the newspaper suggests that the VA may actually attract troubled doctors and clinicians because it doesn't require that they have their own malpractice insurance. Thus, doctors dubbed too risky for private malpractice insurance based on problematic pasts may find relief at the VA, where malpractice claims are paid out using taxpayer money.
In their investigation, USA Today dug up 15 prior malpractice complaints and settlements against neurosurgeon John Henry Schneider, who was hired in April by the Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, with an annual salary of $385,000.
The malpractice cases stretch back to 1997, just months after Dr. Schneider received his medical license in Montana. Lawsuits and complaints allege that Schneider's surgeries left one patient paralyzed, another with severe brain damage, and several with botched spine operations and severe pain. One patient lost bladder and bowel control after Schneider performed three spine surgeries.
In 2014, the Wyoming Board of Medicine revoked Schneider's license following a wrongful death suit filed by the family of one of his former patients. In that case from 2011, Russell Monaco, a father of two, had surgery to reduce pressure on nerves in his lower back. Afterward, he was discharged -- despite dangerously low blood-oxygen levels -- and prescribed a lethal mix of narcotics, including fentanyl, oxycodone, valium, and Demerol. He took the medications as prescribed and died at home the next day, devastating and traumatizing his family, the lawsuit alleges.
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