Posted: March 29, 2014

Dirk Askew, an Army veteran and long-term federal postal worker was awarded $8.3M in a malpractice law suit against The John Cochran VA Hospital. Askew suffered severe brain damage and had his leg amputated after going to Cochran for a routine stent procedure in February 2009.

After the procedure, Askew was discharged from the hospital but then developed swelling and bleeding in his upper thigh at the surgical sight. He was readmitted one week later to repair the damaged artery in his thigh, at which time an infection was found. Askew’s lawsuit claimed that surgeons used infected tissue to repair the artery after which his leg becoming gangrenous and required amputation. It also claimed that a week long delay in corrective surgery caused significant blood loss that led to brain damage.

The U.S district judge who presided over the trial split the award between Askew and his wife, who is his primary caregiver since the incident. The judge awarded $6.8 million to be given to Askew and $1.6 million went to his wife, who wants to use a portion of the money to move the family to a more wheelchair-accessible home.

This is not the first claim of negligence against Cochran Hospital. In February, a man claimed he received unnecessary radiation and chemotherapy after being misdiagnosed with lymphoma. A nurse in the ICU was banned from the hospital in 2010 after injecting a patient with a near lethal dose of the painkiller fentanyl. Another 2010 incident resulted in 1,800 veterans being exposed to HIV, hepatitis, and other viruses due to in inadequate sterilization procedures in the dental clinic. And in 2011, the hospital was shut down after rust stains were discovered on many different surgical instruments. The hospital reopened one month later after adding a $7 million sterilization center.