Iraq War veteran Tyrone Martin dedicated his life to the United States military. Honorably discharged, he was ready for a world of new opportunities. Physicians at the Atlanta VA Medical Center derailed his future because they were too busy and disinterested to see him when unexpected medical complications emerged.
Attorneys Lee Atkinson and Jim Matthews executed an aggressive strategy that helped one of our nation’s veterans find justice and obtain a significant settlement.
The Challenge: Delays at VA Medical Center
Mr. Martin managed two restaurants in the airport that kept him on his feet. When he experienced weakness in his legs, he assumed it was his bad heart condition. He saw a private cardiologist, but the weakness intensified. The Atlanta VAMC told him he had to wait four months for an appointment with a PCP. He went to the Atlanta VAMC’s emergency room eight days before his appointment, because his symptoms continued to worsen.
The Trouble: Disregarded Ailments and Displaced Blame
Mr. Martin walked into the Atlanta VAMC’s ER with the help of a cane and reported he had trouble walking. The ER physician disregarded Mr. Martin’s complaints and sent him home with instructions to keep his PCP appointment.
Mr. Martin could barely stand when he went to the PCP appointment. The PCP determined he likely had spinal cord compression, a medical emergency. He was scheduled to see a neurologist a month later.
By the time of his neurology appointment, Mr. Martin had no sensation below the waist, no strength in his legs, and bowel and bladder incontinence. He was scheduled for a CT scan two days later. The scan revealed an area of Mr. Martin’s thoracic spine was squeezed down to the size of a toothpick. The diagnosis came too late, and Mr. Martin had to adjust to living without any function below his waist.
The Goal: Achieving Justice
We put Mr. Martin’s needs first from day one. We quickly went to work finding top-notch medical specialists, deposing the providers who had mistreated him, and building the strongest possible case. Our goal was to shine a light on the VAMC’s broken system and get Mr. Martin the compensation he needed to live as normally as possible. We worked hard to ensure our client got what he deserved, and we bonded with him along the way.
The Result: Truths Revealed
The VAMC tried to avoid responsibility by blaming Mr. Martin, his pre-existing heart condition, and non-VAMC physicians. The VAMC’s attorneys found a spine surgeon who claimed surgery would have either killed Mr. Martin or left him in worse shape. The VAMC took the position that its providers did Mr. Martin a favor by not diagnosing the spinal cord compression sooner.
Our hard work paid off. We exposed the flaws in the VAMC’s system and convinced the court only one of the VAMC’s expert witnesses should be allowed to testify. We ultimately forced the government to pay Mr. Martin a significant settlement that afforded him much-deserved compensation. We put him in contact with financial advisors who could support and guide him through his next chapter.
The Takeaway: You Don’t Have to Suffer
Our veterans took care of us — we need to take care of them. When the VAMC fails to help in times of need, we are here to help.
If you or a loved one are a veteran injured by medical negligence, call us today at (706) 354-4000. We can help you understand your rights and pursue the justice you deserve.