I was just contacted by a veteran with respect to the VA Hospital endoscope contamination incident that occurred at the VA hospital in Buffalo, NY. The incident involved the failure to properly disinfect reusable equipment known as endoscopes, used by doctors to explore a patients body during colonoscopies. The contaminated equipment has put 526 VA hospital patients at risk. Because the equipment was not properly disinfected, the possibility of the transmission of Hepatitis C, HIV, and other illnesses could occur. The VA has offered free screening to the patients.
Regardless of the test results, it is not hard to imagine that this kind of information creates a tremendous amount of emotional distress and anxiety.
If you are a victim of the VA Hospital Endoscope Contamination in Buffalo, NY, making a claim against the government is a completely different process than filing a typical medical malpractice claim. The Federal Tort Claims Act controls the claim and the acts procedures must be followed very closely. It is important that any claimant retain a lawyer that is familiar with these procedures and has experience asserting claims against the government, and in particular the Veterans Administration. In order to file a claim, you must submit a form 95 to the Veterans Administration setting forth the nature of the claim and the amount of your damages. It is extremely important that the amount of the damages that you set forth in the form covers the value of your case. If you put an amount in that is less than the value of your case, you cannot seek compensation over that amount even though the value of your case has increased since the filing of the form. Many claimants make that mistake. Accordingly, while it is important to quickly retain an attorney, a claimant should be cautious as to how quickly they file the form 95. A claimant should have a handle on his/her damages before form 95 is submitted.