Steve Cooper, who served in the U.S. Army for 18 years, filed a lawsuit against the Phoenix-based Veteran Affairs medical center after the mistreatment of his terminal prostate cancer in 2011.
On Tuesday, now terminally-ill Cooper was awarded $2.5 million by U.S. magistrate judge Michelle Burns after it was determined that the treatable condition resulted in a loss of earnings and that the practitioner overseeing the patient breached the standard of care.
In 2011, a nurse discovered that Cooper’s prostate levels had grown dangerous, though the nurse failed to redirect Cooper to a urologist for any further examination.
Speaking with the Associated Press, Cooper said, “He basically sent me home to die. I felt absolutely betrayed by my country that I served for 18 years when all I was seeking was basic healthcare.”
After the tears and hugs which followed Judge Burns’ reading of the verdict, Cooper was still somber about the new reality he faces.
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“They could’ve made a $200 million verdict. I’m still going to die in a few years, so that’s irrelevant.”
Cooper, who likely has five years remaining in his life, continued by saying, “And these veterans, still to this day, years after they broke the scandal, still can’t get access to care at the VA or the private sector, and I will die fight[ing] ’til my last breath so these veterans can get access to decent health care.”
After his prostate cancer was overlooked, in 2012 Cooper returned to the Phoenix VA where, as he recalled in court, a doctor told him, “You have one of the worst cases of prostate cancer I have seen in my life. There’s nothing I can or will do for you. Hospice will be calling you.”
The same Veteran Affairs medical center was guilty of significant delays in treatment and malpractice in 2014, after close to 40 veterans died waiting for care. Earlier this year, reports reemerged, pointing out that the protocol at the hospital hadn’t improved.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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