According to a U.S. Court of Appeals, the Air Force veteran who allegedly contracted Legionnaire’s Disease at the Pittsburgh VA in 2010 waited too long to sue them. They ruled that the statute of limitations had run out.

The veteran, Dewayne Rettig, first filed the appeal in 2016, six years after he claims that the VA served as the source of his illness. There was a confirmed outbreak of Legionnaire’s in this hospital through 2011 and 2012, widely covered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Despite learning of the outbreak somewhere within that timeframe, Rettig waited at least four years after the revelation to file suit. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals says that was two years too long.

At the time Rettig was diagnosed, there is also not sufficient evidence to implicate the VA in any sort of intentional cover-up. Rettig believes that they did, but the outbreak first came to the attention of hospital personnel in 2011, more than six months after the plaintiff’s diagnosis.

Staff overseeing Rettig’s care suggested that the veteran’s case might have originated in Mexico, where he had recently taken a vacation. Rettig did not display symptoms until after a routine visit to the VA. When symptoms appeared, he had a 104-degree fever and was coughing up blood.

The Mexico explanation may or may not be the true nature of things, and Legionnaire’s is a serious illness. Even with all that being said, a plaintiff is expected by law to bring suit for negligence within two years. That is the accepted standard for individuals and for businesses.

It is a long-held traditional principle of common law that a person who has been wronged must show “vigilance in seeking a remedy,” which means that it must come to light within what is considered a reasonable period of time.

This “vigilance” shows that the plaintiff has suffered distress. On the other hand, allowing the statute of limitations to run out implies that the damage was not sufficiently serious to merit immediate action.

Is two years a reasonable statute of limitations for these types of damages? Should the nature of the complaint, i.e. complaints against a governmental agency instead of a person or private business, change our thinking about this issue? Dewayne Rettig suffered greatly from this illness, but can the hospital be held liable for their role in Rettig’s illness, if any?

Legionnaires’ Disease has an incubation period of two to ten days. In light of this, is it still likely that Rettig would be part of the confirmed outbreak? Is his case unrelated? Does it merit consideration that Rettig was Patient Zero of this event? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Source: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2018/07/veteran_who_contracted_legionn.html

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21 Comments

  1. Well i waited until i could not take it any more to file my PTSD claim and how i was treated at the VA i would have panic attacks, u controllable shaking just by being there. I would also have to premedicate myself in order to function some what. So i guess the statu of limitations may apply to myself as well. But what about the constant harrassement we receive from the VA at times. I dont know how i ever got through without going
    Postal or commiting sucide . The only thing i have is family and if i did something how it would affect their lives forever. My life has already been
    Destroyed i dont eant to place any burden on others who are innocent.

  2. I would also like to read the points of view from the legal minded posters, including Ben.

    There might have been complications (i.e. financial, finding legal guidance/represention) that prevented a timelier filing that have not yet been publicly revealed on this case. We know that one simple error on the part of any claimant is an immediate win for the other side, PERIOD!

    From my armchair, we all know that there are too many practitioners at any VHA controlled facility, that do not (regardless of why) actually reveal any diagnosis, so that a veteran can utilize the findings to make informed decisions about their own health. There are far too many veterans that are left in utter frustration over a curable/fixable situation that has been left to exacerbate into major complications over the years. Be it VHA staff excuses about scheduling issues, practitioner availability (or in reasonable proximity), or even the actual interpritation of findings making it into the patient’s records to be revealed to the patient. I know of practitioners while in patient consultation, that only utter the first conclusion without reading/revealing important information/anomolies/findings further in the report be it labs, radiology, or any specialty clinic. And worse, it is sometimes a matter of the practitioner reading what some transcriber decided to enter into the patient’s record from those inportant reports. That is why each and every time there is anything we go through regarding our health, even on the outside, we need hard copies of every bit of it as soon as possible, so we know what is happening with our care. We just have to be diligent in babysitting every aspect of our healthcare; there are just too many opportunities for errors, deliberate or otherwise.

  3. Just because it’s the law doesn’t mean that its Right, or Just or even Moral . Can I lie to the VA, no. Can the vA lie to me , yes.. Now what kinda system would you call that? It’s standard procedure at VA to run the clock out. My feeling is the VA mislead this man and was covering up their negligence. Two years is not long enough when dealing with the VA and its dereliction. How can one be vigilant when VA blinds the facts.
    The VA is the fly in the ointment, the little bug fuckin assholes.

  4. It seems to me like this guy simply waited too long to file a suit. Does this excuse the VA as a possible source of Legionnaires? Not at all. Doesn’t sound like there’s a cover up here. No excessive waits for documents etc etc. Nothing shady beyond the shitty maintenance schedule.

  5. So it seems to me that “Slow days at the office” such as today could be put to better use. Why not start up a series of instructionals to help us be better able to combat the VA? I could always use a brush up on FOIA related things and I’m sure there are folks who could use a tune up in other areas related to fighting the VA.

    I remember a couple of months ago you asking for help from the readership. Not sure how that all went. I, at least, did not receive a response back after offering to help…

  6. Section 4 of the 14th guarantees veteran’s benefits which include 38 CFR 3.154 malpractice benefits. That article has no statute of limitations.
    The U S Attorney argues, in my case, similar to this one. I’m appealing to the 10th based on the “cover-up” by changing my diagnosis from absence seizures, (partial seizures atypical) with complex partial and atonic seizures. The 1990 PDR says cautions against the use of Tegretol for this seizure situation. The 2016 PDR flatly states Tegretol makes temporal lobe seizures of this type worse which was my experience leading me to ultimately wean off and self DC the drug after more than 5 months of refusal to change the therapy.

    A cover-up diagnosis of pseudo seizures (seizures unresponsive to medication) was entered in my record and not appropriate therapy was begun until 2016 when treatment with Keppra stopped my seizure symptoms.

    Can’t get an attorney, including Ben’s office to help. And the VA is sure to take advantage of my other TBI symptoms such as being unable to organize the necessarily long brief. I’m screwed again. As are all of the veterans with temporal lobe TBI that are suicidal, like me. Next step is the steps of the 10th Circuit Courthouse with that finale exit demonstration against the Court for not enforcing Section 4 of the 14th./

  7. Sorry to hear about all of your problems, Lem !
    Why can’t you get an attorney and why do you say that Ben won’t help you ? Helping Veterans is about ALL Ben and his office does. I am surprised that Ben didn’t comment on what you said, though. Please answer as I am going to be in the same boat soon !

    • Posted the reason on Ben’s Whistle Blower article. Had an attorney who withdrew. Not sure because of me or because I’m on a shit list that attorneys get warned about. “If you help this activist who is trying to get veterans with organic brain syndromes compensated properly the VA GC is going to make your assistance to other clients tough.”

      But then it could be my TBI making me a difficult client. In any case, I went to Ben’s office site and put in an application for assistance. “Wasn’t a case they could help with.” Same for several others.

      Will call the Clerk for the 10th for a list of attorneys admitted to practice before that court on Monday.

  8. This veteran who’s time ran out because he didn’t seek the medical help to help find the diagnosis of his ailment, should have seeked out side doctors to diagnose and notate his diagnosis and any test that we’re performed during his visit to his doctors not the (VA), I believe he got the short end of the deal he could possibly seek out an attorney to get his advice, but I haven’t heard of anyone getting this particular diease in Mexico, one visit, but I believe he did contracted this at a VA hospital or clinic, I hope he gets the ansewers and help he deserves

  9. Thank you Juan and of course you also Lem. That was a very quick reply ! Lem if you receive your list I would appreciate it if you would forward it to me ! If you can achieve it, let me know and I will send you my email !
    Again,
    Thanks a lot,
    Dave

  10. Deep state goes deep, I don’t think they like veterans. A veteran was beat to death in Pineville, La , vamc and the perp only got a years probation, but the judge did say they had enough evidence to jail him. Just another dead veteran nobody cares about.

  11. The VA has a fiduciary duty to veterans which it regularly ignores with impudence.
    It is no mistake that there are 5 to 6 Harvard trained Government attorneys on every case which is appealed through the BVA and CVA and upwards to the great Court in the Sky.
    Benefit of the Doubt, in reality is just a figment of the government’s imagination ‘
    There is a certain mentality of people who work in the VA which a good social psychologist can explain which amounts to “control” and “get even”. The statute of limitations was manipulated by the Government in this situation as it is through subterfuge in the medical process of diagnosis and treatment just like the Agent Orange Fiasco and the Camp Lejeune Water problems and many of the VA tricks they have pulled on Veterans, including the intentional destruction of Veterans’ files(which I personally observed and to which a Regional Director admitted to)
    Until we veterans mount a huge combined effort to sue this agency at every turn and hold each offending government official for criminal acts, and until WE gather the influence to FIRE the cogs in the wheel, this kind of injustice will go on and on and on. I have seen with my own eyes, as have many of you brothers, ,so many examples of the affliction, “don’tgiveashititis” of which the VA suffers from. You cannot get the same quality of medical care from the VA when you, as the Veteran cannot choose the Medical Professional who provides you treatment, That is the uneven power which the “appointed” medical professionals exert which medical professionals on the open market cannot exert. And the VA medical and bureacratic boobs know it.
    Only when every veteran who is a lawyer joins the effort to pitch in to the extent of his ability and we gather the power to get the mule to move, will we improve the care of veterans. Until then, they will get away with everything. Nothing will change until you put the fear of God into these bureaucratic boobs.
    Ain’t gonna happen. No battle was ever won without overwhelming superiority in firepower and the thrust of many bayonets. The VA must pay for representation by attorneys of veterans’ claims way before the claim hits the Board of Veterans Appeals. Until then this is an adversary situation; the VA vs. the Veteran.

  12. Was that could never sue, changed early 90’s I think? They put a 2 year statue of limitations when the court said can sue for doctor’s negligence. He would probably win if kept going, get an answer long after death. There is a possibility of making service connected and paid through they, but need some people on your side. I could sue for several things because the VA is a mess, but is not worth the headache, stress and retaliation. The Choice program was sold to pay for itself through malpractice claims. Shulkin said if sent the difficult patients out, there would be less claims against the VA and pays for itself. How stupid people are in charge of our country is beyond me. There are studies that show people would rather have nice people who smile than intelligent people. All comes down thinking someone listens to them and probably couldn’t repeat the last 3 words said. These bastards in the VA will plot to screw the veteran so they look good and there’s nothing won’t do to accomplish their goals, put their children on the tracks. They only care about themselves and shows in employees who hate working there. If regular hospitals treatment is so much better, what excuse does the VA have?

  13. My thoughts and prayers are with each and every Veteran that has an unfortunate situation in which their main provider is the VA. I, personally, have been dealing with the bureaucratic bullshit since 2004. In my geographic area at the time (Las Vegas, NV) we had little clinics from one end of the Valley to the next. As a matter of fact the “main” VA office was in the same shopping mall as the Welfare Dept. I can not tell you how many times I heard snide remarks from the VA workers that the Welfare Dept was at the end of the hall if they needed anything else. I remember crying at first because the Vietnam Veteran was so embarrassed he turned around and walked out. My sadness soon turned into anger and I pushed my way to the front of the line and not so politely asked the gentleman if he had ever served in the military. No, of course was his answer. I completely embarrassed him and his co workers that allowed this to happen. Which by the way there were 4 employees, however only a single file line and only one person being helped, or not, by one of the guys. The others just watched, listened, sneered and made fanning motions when one obvious Veteran that had been homeless for sometime went to the counter. I completely understood at that very moment that those people didn’t give a damn about the Vietnam Veteran that just needed a nebulizer machine so he could breath, and the homeless Vet just wanted to know where he could get a pair of shoes that were not falling apart and allowing his feet to be burned to the point of blisters. It took 52 different medications, 13 different psychiatrists, 7 therapist, and probably 40 trips to the psych ward before someone shut the hell up long enough to actually hear what I was saying to be diagnosed with Severe PTSD, Acute anxiety, borderline personality disorder and last but certainly not least, and still not noted in my chart, TBI. This was 6 years after my first visit to the Hole in the wall on Owens Street. There wasn’t a manual to tell us what to do, who to talk to or none of the stuff we should have known. I learned most everything I know about entitlements and how the entire system works by none other than that homeless Vet I had seen that first day. There is a really skimpy book that has a little information on what to do for certain things, but I can tell you this, since this hospital was built for the Vets here in Vegas it has done nothing but get worse. There is a change to some policy all of the time!!! Sorry for my ranting but my whole point in this matter is I am not the specialist, the Dr., the Oncologists or in any other profession that had I not kept going to that hole in the wall, talked to all those therapists and polluted my body with all of those chemicals I, too would be in the same situation as Lem. We are not the professionals, we are the patients. It is hard enough on my depression, lack of self of steem that I have developed to even ASK FOR HELP. WHAT IN THE HELL DO THESE PEOPLE THINK WE DID IN THE SERVICE? SIT AT DESKS AND TALK SHIT ABOUT EVERYBODY THAT WALKED IN THE DOOR??? NO YOU JACKASSES WE WERE FIGHTING A WAR SO YOU COULD PUT YOUR STINKING FOOT ON GOVERNMENT OWNED TABLES. I AM MORE THAN PISSED, MORE THAN DISGUSTED, AND DEFINITELY MORE DISCIPLINED THAN ANY VA EMPLOYEE I’VE EVER MET (OK THERE WAS ONE, TRACY LANNERS, THEY RAN HER OFF TOO). Len you don’t give in to those worthless pieces of shit. You’re a soldier, and we fight to the end!!!!

  14. It’s all about saving the VA money so it can be invested in Wall St. by its 3rd party insurer that will give back to the VIA via dividends & the insurer too will have made its wad. Insurance industry worth over 4 and half TRILLION dollars by denying benefits! So how much has the VA NETTED by meting out shoddy care? The States & U.S. Judicial branch are pro corporation/employers and the VA is an employer. The same with the DOD, they are all self-insured netting blood money by not giving out benefits! So how much is the VA & DOD netting blood money anyway?

    • U nailed Dina,,,its all about money all the way around..For our vets,,is about saving money by not diagnosing anything that will be a chronic/pre-existing condition,,for they all believe up in Washington D..C..,which their in there own little unreal world,,over there..That everybody is the same,,every body heals its self and we are just sucking off the system which hurts their pocket books,,our tax payer money,but they believe its their money,,For retirements,,the best healthcare our tax money can by them,,not us,,.Ive said this before,,my mother-law,,who’s husband was in the navy,ww2,,,then worked for dod,and cia,,,She never even see’s a bill,nor a deductible or out of pocket for HER to pay..ever.!Not because of her husbands service to our country,,but because he was a federal employee.I am talking about Federal employees,,get the best insurance our tax dollars will buy them,,I mean the suicide rates w/the Vets and civilians who have chronic painful conditions is the highest this country has ever seen,,,yet our government just keeps in adding more unlawful restriction ,laws and regulations,to make sure they have enough ,”lawful sanctions,” in place soo they don’t get called up by a lawyer for torture and genocide of the chronic medically ill!Doesn’t try to work w/us to ask us why soo many our FORCED to use death,,to end a painful medical condition,because opiatephobia has hit America,and we all are being denied access to effective medicine to lessen that physical pain from painful medical condition.We all our using death,to stop that physical pain,,once treatable w/medicine to lesson that physical pain,,now,,denied access to effective dosages to lessen that physical pain.We are dieing because we are now forced to use death,to stop that physical pain,Yet our government does nothing to help,,,only to cause more harm,,Why?/because they want us dead!!Because according to their corrupted data,,we cost too much.Gee..I use to cost my insurance nothing,,w/1 visit a year to my doctor,,,NOW,, w/opiatephobia hysteria, it cost me/and them about 20,000,,,,They have made it expensive…But they truly believe,a chronic medical condition,,cost them too much,,sooo let us just die-off,,do nothing to prevent these ,”suicides,” let us kill ourselves,,it saves them $$$$$,,,the price tag they put on all of us,,,is too much in their eyes,,,soo let us die,,,as matter of fact,,,they want us dead,and thus yes indeed it is BLOOD MONEY!!,,jmo maryw

    • 07 22 18 The Big Picture of Government Wealth, vs. Private Sector Wealth

      “https://wp.me/p1jN4X-2av”
      Look at the numbers of Financial Institution wealth (Banks, Brokerage, and Insurance) compared to government’s controlling equity. Who wins out there? Keep in mind that the investment capital those entities are holding and investing (Banks, Brokerage, and Insurance) is “primarily” collective government’s equity, all of which are networked through private associations that government itself started and its own personnel are the primary members of.
      The categories cover the entire wealth of the private sector; private corporate, and private non-incorporated. It also shows the debt liability of the private sector. Is the private sector in hock to the “globalist banking cartel”? No, they are in hock primarily to government. (75%). Per mortgages, the primary debt of the private sector, 90% is funded directly or indirectly by collective government investment capital. Government “promotes” through their covert media sources the exact opposite of reality to the population. That being it is the big-bad international bankers and large corporations that is the cause of the peoples woes.

      I have been actively looking for this “Collective” consolidated data for the last 20-years and found it two-weeks ago. Obscurely entitled the: Z.1. report.

      The following document is put out by the Data division of the Federal Reserve.

      The link is the category listings of wealth held for years 2011 through 2015. This covers total Federal Pension Funds; Local Government Pension Funds (L; 119. a, b, and c. L120 a, b, and c = 16-trillion+); Federal and Local total investment wealth held; the a showing for the private sector (L.118.a, b, and c); financial institutions; insurance Companies, Brokerage; Banks, etc.

      Also included is Worldwide wealth held by all of the above. The categories also cover the “Total Debt” held by all of the above AND who is the investor holding that debt. After digesting the numbers you will see that the private sector; AND corporations; etc. are primarily in debt to government via government’s (collective local and Federal) investment capital.

  15. Back in 89 had to take the big chemical companies to court cuz they screwed up my life. A high long story short in California we are allowed 1 year then it is to late. If I had won my law suit I would have had to give the money to uncle Sam. So in the end was classified 100 percent disabled fed employee. I never applied or had anything to do with the VA. Being that I got out in Nov.75 honorably. Really didn’t have a clue what the VA is was spent 10 in. I had had it with anything slightly green. Except my field jacket a good motorcycle woman and a job in 2 day. Well got kinda curious about 41yrs later. Told them the truth and they awarded me 70 percent. Ya understand guys the hatred confusions ha 40yrs lost and as a fed had blue cross so thought that was enough.
    The first time I started going to the VA I swear it was like a homecoming. The feeling of comarady and military jargon filled me with like I hadn’t met some old friends. Being a biker well my life was smart and busy. But the feelings of friendship have continued greatly! Now a biker for Trump oh proud that I have found my kinship brothers. So as a new VA guy I am using this VA. I am in skilled nursing facility for many things and I am going to use the VA for some of my health concerns after I get out. Reading about others situations leads me to be aware all is not it is cracked up to be.

  16. There is nothing mysterious about this in any way. The statutes of limitations are there to specifically keep lawsuits from running 20-30-40 years or more. I dont see anyone complaining about the limitation that the Supreme Court placed on cases back in the 90’s. For example the ERA Amendment. It was thrown out and cant be refiled again because of the 5 year minimum-7 year maximum limitation for Constitutional Amendments. If this person knew he had this disease and waited 4 years to sue, then sorry if this sounds cold blooded but thats his fault. It was clearly stated in the MSM that this was caused by an outbreak at a specific location and hospital. So there is no way he could have not know where he received it. And to just ignore it for over 3 years after knowing he had this disease? he has no one to blame for this but himself. I am sorry that he has this disease, but I am not sorry that he lost his case.

  17. There is no statute of limitations on filing an internal VA claim for malpractice under Title 38 U.S.C. Section 1151. The SOL only pertains to tort claims.

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