Wisconsin VA Facility Sued for Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death

On August 29, 2016, the wife and daughter of a Marine who died in a Tomah, Wisconsin VA healthcare facility as the result of a toxic cocktail consisting of more than a dozen drugs filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the U.S. government.

The lawsuit filed in the federal court of Madison, Wisconsin accuses the VA healthcare workers of prescribing and administering large quantities of improperly prescribed drugs to Jason Simcakoski. Simcakoski was 35 years old, when he died on October 30, 2014. The lawsuit further claims that the VA failed to administer the proper emergency care to Simcakoski when he was found unresponsive and failed to properly diagnose his substance abuse and mental health problems.

The lawsuit follows an investigation by the VA Inspector General that determined that deficiencies in Simcakoski’s care led to his death. One of Simcakoski’s physicians was terminated from the VA following the investigation.

According to the family’s claim, a physician prescribed Simcakoski Suboxone to alleviate chronic pain and possibly reduce anxiety. Suboxone is a drug often used to treat addiction of heroin and other opiates. The case alleges that Simcakoski was not warned that he was prescribed Suboxone in an off-label use or that the Suboxone would interact with other medications he was already prescribed. It also accuses the VA of prescribing Suboxone in too high of a dosage.

According Simcakoski’s family, they visited him at the Tomah VA facility hours before he died. His father stated he was concerned because his son was “so sedated he could barely speak.”

At 2:45 p.m. on August 30, 2014 a nursing staff member found Simcakoski unresponsive. CPR and other life saving measures were not started for another 10 minutes and it took 20 minutes for emergency medical staff to arrive, the lawsuit alleges.

A 2015 investigation by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also revealed that two physicians at the Tomah VA facility were prescribing very large amounts of narcotics to the veterans. The investigation also revealed that the chief of staff, David Houlihan, was nicknamed “Candy Man” by veterans seeking treatment at the facility because he prescribed them so many narcotics.

The lawsuit does not specify what damages are being sought by the family.

Contact a VA Malpractice Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured by the negligence of the VA healthcare system, the lawyers of Lutz, Bobo & Telfair, P.A. can review your claim and help you understand your legal rights. To learn more about your legal rights or how our VA medical malpractice lawyers can help you file a claim, call us today or send an email. We’re here to help YOU.

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