MMQB: VA Pays Out Nearly $1 Mil In Veteran Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death

Benjamin KrauseOne Puget Sound family successfully sued VA in the wrongful death of veteran Cliff Douglass after its delayed treatment of skin cancer that resulted in his untimely death.

Isn’t it about time we start hearing good news from settlements when VA obfuscates or blocks access to timely health care causing death?

Douglass sadly joins the ranks of many veterans who are dead after VA health care professionals failed to treat or refer sick veterans who would have likely survived if they received adequate and timely health care.

For Douglass, VA failed to refer him for care to treat his skin cancer, and that delay resulted in his untimely death.

We will talk about this and more in this edition of Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans. Welcome to this edition of Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause, creator of the community. This is the number one place of unadulterated veteran centric news, analysis and benefits strategy on the web.

MMQB is where I hit on recent news from the weekend and talk about upcoming news this week. I keep it short and sweet to give a picture of what just happened and what is coming up.

Here is what we will touch on this week:

  • VA $1 mil payout in wrongful death claim
  • VA seeks change to pension regulation
  • House bill would cut VA executive benefits
  • Upcoming Congressional hearings



The family of Cliff Douglass received a $900,000 settlement for his wrongful death after VA doctors found cancer (melanoma) on his forehead from a biopsy. VA told Douglass they would refer him to a specialist to treat the melanoma.

Instead, VA failed to make the referral and the cancer spread. The cancer was first diagnosed in May 2011. Douglass waited three months for his desperately needed treatment and eventually made the referral himself.

Doctors were unable to treat Douglass once the proper referral was made. During surgery, doctors discovered the cancer spread down his face and throughout his entire body. He died from the melanoma in 2012.

VA did not go down without a fight. Agency attorneys denied wrongdoing when Douglass’s sister filed an SF-95 tort claim. They claimed the death was not the result of any negligence. They were apparently wrong.

According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, VA has paid out $5.9 million for wrongful deaths between 2001 and 2011.

Read More:



VA filed notice and comment notification with the Federal Register to change regulations affecting the Pension program. The proposed changes would modify the following:

  • Set a clear net worth limit
  • Set a look-back period for asset transfers
  • Set deductible medical expenses
  • Consolidate statutory exclusions from income and assets
  • Regulations affecting Medicaid-covered nursing home care
  • Regulations affecting applicability to surviving child beneficiaries

VA claims it needs to make these changes to ensure the program helps the veterans it was intended to help. By closing the asset transfer loophole, it may be able to accomplish this.

What do you think about the changes? Will they help or hurt?

Read More:



Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) is setting his sights on lucrative benefits for VA management last week in proposed legislation aimed at rooting out corruption. The bill would reclaim some pensions, limit paid administrative leave, and reduce the number of employee bonuses.

Here is a breakdown of the bill from Stars and Stripes:

– If an executive is convicted of a felony crime that influenced their job performance, the VA secretary could subtract the amount of job service that counts toward a retirement pension.

– No more than 30 percent of VA executives could receive the two highest employee performance ratings in a single year. The bill creates a five-level rating scale for executives, which helps determine pay bonuses, and would replace a system where nearly all VA executives received high performance ratings.

– The department could not put any executives on paid administrative leave for more than two weeks. The VA drew criticism last year for paying some executives for months while sorting out allegations of wrongdoing.

– Every five years, senior executives would be required to change jobs to a new position “that does not include the supervision of the same personnel and programs.”

Read More:



House Committee on Veterans Affairs

JAN 27, 2015

Legislative Hearing on H.R. 189, H.R. 216, H.R. 245, H.R. 280, and H.R. 294.

JAN 27, 2015

A Review of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

JAN 28, 2015

“Examining the Quality and Cost of VA Health Care”

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  1. after seven years bva remanded 1151ompensation and pension exam verified veterans claims va negligence has had him in wheel chair seven years hes been home less went hungry his family hassuffered yet va says there is no timeframeo pay his benefeits since its a bva remand where does veteran turn for help I was overpaid six hundredthe yimmediately wanted repaid so less money each month for theveteran what about the seven yeatrs of TDIU they owe veteran for negligence admitted and confirmed in candp eam how can veteran get his benefeits on a supposedly expedited bva remand its been 7 yeats since claim was filed and now they admit wrong doing I believe my benefeits should start immediately the same as they do when they say a veteran owes money if anyone reading can help please contact me at linkin-2007@hotmail. com maybe my fight willhelp my veteran brothers win their fight too I hav watched and listened and monitoredfellow veteran issues and very seldom are the veterans wrong if anyone out there can help please reply

    1. I am a successful FTCAer ( wrongful of my husband) and also was awarded Sec 1151.DIC too.

      Did this veteran succeed under FTCA at all?

      Can you post here the Docket and citation # of the BVA remand?

      I dont do emails but can be reached via if you join and post this info there.

      We have a full FTCA and Section 1151 forum.

      I am he the same vet they paid the Million to?

      There is an FTCA offset to 1151 awards.

      I am the only case I know of whereby the VA had to pay me back the offset they had deducted from my DIC.

      How that occurred I explained at under DIC and FTCA info there.

      I am a volunteer vets advocate, and have been at hadit for 17 years with many other advocates (basically they are all hardcore VA claimants like me).

      “According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, VA has paid out $5.9 million for wrongful deaths between 2001 and 2011.”

      Yeah but the CIR wasnt interested in my evidence on the rest of their hidden malpractice stats.
      My settlement still has been hidden from the public.(among other FTCA settlements and all 1151 awards.

      Maybe the FBI was (and the H VAC)interested in my evidence of this sent to them.

      Please join

      What VARO do you deal with?

      There was a stall on my FTCA settlement pay out. I called Tim ,the OGC lawyer who dealt with me and told him the settlement was off.. no deal ..he was horrified…and asked why and I said , I have not received what I agreed to receive from the USA in months.

      No cash, no settlement, we can negotiate again…..

      He gave me the name and # of the man at US Treasury who had my case.

      The money transfer then went immediately to my bank..


  2. One question, “Why can’t I go to the ER in town ? THE VA has rejected the bill for care at the ER. They claim that the Outreach Clinic(45+ miles) offers the same services. This is NOT TRUE, THEY WILL ONLY REFER me to the ER in that town because don’t have ER equipment at the clinic.

  3. Regarding the Puget Sound payout (FTCA)

    in part:

    “As of mid-2014, the VA has spent more than $50 million on medical malpractice claims, according to an analysis of Treasury Department records. In the ten years after 9/11, the VA paid $200 million to nearly 1,000 families in wrongful death cases.”

    These figures do NOT reflect how much VA has paid out under successful Section 1151, 38 USC claims arising from proven negligence /malpractice.

    FTCA settlements are made with the USA under a signature from a VA lawyer and the claimant, and are paid through the Judgement Fund of the US Treasury Department.

    1151 claims come from the general compensation fund, since VA deems them “as if” service connected.

    For survivors awarded wrongful death under 1151, there are no ancillary benefits.

    However if the deceased veteran was 100% SC P & T in their lifetime, the 1151 survivors usually have already established CHAMPVA and Chapter 35 DEA eligibility under the veterans 100% P & T award.

    I have 4 FOIAS out with VA trying to determine their true malpractice stats.

    Of course I am getting a run a round on that.

    There are BVA 1151 awards that are public , but many are remanded 1151 claims and the public has no idea what the RO determination was.

    An 1151 award is the same as a FTCA settlement,in this respect… means the veteran was either harmed to the point of having additional ratable disabilities
    or they were killed by the VA.

  4. Ben, was this the Seattle VA or the Tacoma VA as they are both in the Puget Sound VA. I had been getting treatment from the Seattle VA for the last 10 yrs. and in July 2012 I somehow developed an iron deficiency anemia and in the two yrs. following it that VA could not find out or were they never concerned about finding out what was causing this. I would take three 325mg iron pills daily and my iron level would not raise and in fact would continue to drop. I would finally have to get an iron IV every so often to try and raise my levels. Nothing worked and I continue to have this problem. I could not get them to figure out why this is happening. They have done the scopes (both ways), a double balloon scope, the camera thing that you swallow and in that the GI Dr. stated that she could clearly see in one picture there was active oozing of blood into my intestines and yet they did nothing (yes, I complained like hell), and nothing and to this day I have no idea of what is causing this and if it can be fixed. Meanwhile, I continue to take the iron pills, received another IV and nothing. The last IV was done by the Indy VA as I have moved but I now may have to move back to Seattle (another story that has been documented in other blogs on this site).
    During my iron problem and while I was still at the Seattle VA, I developed a bad pain just under my ribs and it would be there almost continuously. The GI Dr. from Seattle said it may be Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, or something else and nothing was ever done to try and find out what it could be. I kept complaining of the pain and was prescribed Gas-X. I was taking three of them, three times a day and no help. When I moved to Indy, the pain became so bad that I finally went to the ER. First trip, the ER thought it was just a bad case of gas and gave me Maalox to take. Two days later after I could take the pain no more, I went back to the ER and this time they done a scan and huh, my gallbladder had a 2.3cm stone stuck in the neck of the gallbladder and it had sludge, was swollen, and the lining was inflamed. The result, remove the gallbladder and now all of that pain is gone. The Indy VA told me this was not something that had just happened, it had been going on for a while. I guess that would explain the pain I had been complaining to the Seattle VA about for over six months that was never looked at. The Seattle VA could have caught this a long time ago along with why I cannot absorb iron and have to deal with that everyday.
    So now I have two VA’s that I have had expense with and neither of them are nothing to say I am pleased with. Each have ignored something that has a major factor in how I live my daily life. I have no life now because of the Indy VA and to think that I may have to go back to the Seattle VA to get my life back is something I don’t want to do. The Indy VA has decided to treat my chronic pain problem; however, they stand by the fact that I don’t have anything wrong. So how can you agree to treat me with a chronic pain med (narcotic) when you state that I don’t have anything wrong with me? I feel as if they are going to want to give me just one pill a day (to shut me up) and anyone who has had to take these types of meds know you have to stay ahead of the pain or you are doing no good. We will see next week when I meet with them.
    Sorry mine was so long as well. It is just so unfair to read all of my fellow vets vent (as I do) about the horrors and the problems that we are having and yet we really have nothing or no way to defend ourselves from the VA in an effective manner. Oh the wonderful VA.

  5. Ben, you have given me a plethora of information, but these issues with a high suicide rate? Hell, it didn’t take me Rocket Science to see the major flaws within the system for those with PTSD & MST. I cannot help what my mind retains and what it says “dump it, garbage,” but science, psychosocial man those are my areas I know or will peel the “proverbial onion” until I seek and find truths. I find it rather fascinating in just one instance, “a high on the totem pole” I hope they remembered to “cross their I’s and dot their T’s. Yes, I meant it to say that because the “party is just getting started!” I find it offensive when one does what they did, and it will fall on their shoulders, because one word would have made a difference, truly scary!
    My own experience at this VA, well one was put off for a couple of months, it should have been a get in now type situation considering my “lack of parts.” But game done VA, you had a whole year to do the RIGHT THING, but blew it, get ready because I will not play nice in the sand box, it’s long past time for Veterans to “ACCEPT CRAP FOR CARE,” get ready VA’s we Veterans will be in that line, and may it go so far up changes done. You might want to find out about the “new claims process” because it does involve some of the old ones. Pretty sad, honest Veterans pay a price, and like um I was having a major issue my back was the least of my concerns? ( Keesler-two days before Christmas the urologist read the wrong films, thank goodness it was caught, but a day of in and out caths never fun, however thankful to keep a kidney!)
    I will have private insurance, see a damn spine surgeon like I should have done in the beginning, but, some doctors can’t deal with one who was smarter and did try and do the right thing! Oh well your hell be ready! You too nurse “why are you here again!” Because I know for a FACT you manipulated a record, but status quo as long as they can get away with it!
    “SELDOM DO QUIET WOMEN ACHIEVE MAKE HISTORY!” Heck, that isn’t my reasons, it’s the many others we shall loose to suicide, knowing some will never be classified as having PTSD. WORSE? The intake social worker should get the main points, remember we are tapping into a part of our brain that often protects itself, but I wonder does it rewire the brain in its process of rational thinking, action and deeds?
    The future is now, it’s happening, and I truly believe before separating from the service a longer process out before a discharge. ( but this can get jaded as well) an 18 year old mind it’s cognitive skills are not completely developed, so sometimes it comes out later in life, and truly it is confusing. It’s my nature to care for others, call it my calling when so very young. My body now broken, wears me out quickly, I need it to be taken care off correctly. And since the doctors on the outside understand your a consumer, gee you get the best behaviors and attitudes, never again VA, unless I am allowed to bring a few friends-oh what fun yet sadness on that day. Veterans deserve well informed and well trained professionals who staff these places. And to the guy who stated “you don’t want another surgery, what, it may give you two years? Actually I am of the age way past consent, it is my body and my choices dude, noticed how I tuned you out? Done for a damn good reason, thankfully I have good instincts!
    I hope I do not annoy you, I know when questions are answered. I do get all I needed, but my body grows tired after car rides, talking to my REAL DOCTOR, and the pain is so great it totally wears me out. “YES, AS ONE VILLAGE IDIOT CLAIMED OPIOID ADDICTION WE NEED PSYCH TOO? GEE, MY DOCTOR BASICALLY WROTE HIM A GET STUFFED LETTER, I AM OVERLY CONCERNED ABOUT ANY PILLS, AND SENSITIVE AS HELL TO MANY! SO SUCK IT UP PETE, YOU SHALL GET SCHOOLED ON THIS ONE! I CANNOT WAIT!
    QUESTION EVERYTHING BEN: “IF IT HAS HAPPENED TO ME THEN HOW MANY OTHERS?” A partial answer you gave of a percentage, LOOK UP TRAITS TESTING! SERIOUSLY ITS A BIGGY! I never fear where I should tread, I am navy after all, can you please get SARAH the idiot PALIN to stop using our damn creed! Now that would be a gift of a lifetime, for me and future generations! GOOD LUCK AND ALWAYS WITH THANKS-SORRY I DO WRITE LONG RESPONSES, BUT, LATELY I SAVE WHAT I READ! 🙂

    1. Oh, just an FYI, not a bragging point, actually the opposite, when I take classes I find now the shorter they are the better I do. I have had all the signs, symptoms for Fibromyalgia since my days on Active duty back in 1979 to 1980. Since I do keep up with what I enjoy, when I left the reserves and another traumatic event which now made three. ( yes, damn naive, admitting it, still am, sticking with pets and no men for awhile please!) This one however was during Desert Storm, I was asked to go with an old friend ( male, thought nothing of it, had lots of male friends-only friends! After the event I asked the Main Man, please see if we can get out of here early, which he did in two weeks) I did tell a friend on the phone what happened, she stated she knew it. I didn’t notice how he viewed me, heck it just wasn’t me. But my Fibromyalgia got worse, July of 1995 before we came to Texas ( Hades dear, real name) I still had the heater on and a water bed that too was warm. Fibromyalgia was not noted yet to be an autoimmune disease, but denied even with the paperwork from a well known doctor they needed proof? Of what? Idiots it was t even named yet!
      But back to the topic, after a car accident, I had worse migraines, I got this damn Fog thing that hit, and my computer drove me nuts because of the light, even with a dimming program. But the retention to remember mid terms, I would literally have to read the chapters all over again, even though I am a note taker, it was a do over, and I WASNT use to that! I took three short courses, damn! That was easy! So no matter what happens in your life, learn to find a way to adapt. It is not impossible, but, it takes you willing to accept changes. ( I am stubborn, so I will drive my family nuts, I want to do it myself!)
      I will say, “the grades” I get are only a measurement of how well I retained the information, I don’t do the look at me selfies as anything “special,” we only succeed when we get out and do the job, many times it’s the ones who didn’t get a silly pay me to be seen that honor crap role and become the best in their field and are well respected! But trust me, it is a struggle at times, so anyone else that deals with this? ( yes, outrageous granny status here) if you become frustrated, stop, take a day off, and next thing you know you shall have mastered that disability, so never give up nor give in!
      Just fyi as well, how many notes does it take for a disability office to understand cognitive issue here? In Texas? 6 notes, and my doctor was ready to film it and explain, like shouldn’t these people know this? ( yes, it could have been a law suit, why bother, let another deal with it)
      Best question by a cop who is talking to someone who has lived with chronic pain; “mam, do you hurt anywhere?” Me; “Sir, I hurt all the time, so I cannot say gee look knew pain! I have a high pain threshold!” But the nerve meds, yup sound like a drunk, seems to happen quite a bit!

  6. Thought you might want to know.

    [email protected]
    Re: Lawmakers Vow to Keep Close Watch on Veterans Affairs Progress, Spending
    Dear Benjamin Kesling,
    You are aware of Attorney Bejamin Krause/Veteran who is pushing to have “justice” in America work for the Americans [“in this so called legal systems”]—see his blog.
    Back on 12/08/2008, AP printed a story that Hope Yen wrote; titled: Rumsfeld critic Shinseki picked for VA secretary and in that article it stated, “Thousands of veterans currently endure six-month waits for receiving disability benefities, despite promises by current VA Secretary James Peake and his predecessor, Jim Nicholson, to reduce delays.
    The article from AP/Jelinek on 01/20/2011 titled: “Suicides increase for Army Guard, Reserve soldiers”—since 2004 there has been a sharp increase of suicides but the suicides began to double in 2010.
    With new drugs administered by the doctors with little knowledge of their side-effects, and plenty of opiates [Prudue/Cardinal Health], with the case of medical gross neglect, [a panel of District Judges called it “Criminally Negligent” in 2008]; and the delays for treatment [Issue 216 of the 73 page Class Action Lawsuit in 2007] and the “miscommunications” and the “royal run-around [QTCM and others]”—add unemployment, poverty, street drugs to the already insane workplace in America [workers speaking several languages]—presto you get the American National Disaster as Presidential Candidate/former Senator Bob Dole described it, in June of 2014.
    The FedBid Scandal brought to light the scandals of the 1980s, in Aerospace, in Southern California, almost makes me feel fuzzy inside [1998 Cox Report/900 pages of Treason]. The Senators where complaining about the handling of FedBid [Jan Frye, VA deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Acquisition and Logistics] all for the right ( )reasons.
    As the Class Action Lawsuits mount [Morrison Foerester and others] and a forward thrust by people with the ability to do Corrective Actions—you will see the change at the VA. VA Secretary Bob McDonald appears to the right guy for the job [08/08/14], but did the “Lawbreakers” not say that about Shinseki & Nicholson? And what about the duo–Batman and Robin over at QTCM [Principi & Peake] aren’t they doing a great job [2013 Hearing]?
    All I see is Velvet Gloves in this National Disaster—Damn Pussies—all of them!
    The Wall Street Journal sold off the last time I wrote [Ms. Bancroft]—pretty soon there will be no place to go!
    Benjamin, you and WSJ better start acting like a real newspaper and dig in the real areas of concern. Gannett’s recent action from Mr. Icahn’s by loading Goldman Sachs executive into the Newspaper leaves me fuzzy inside too! The most new news from Gannett [17 investigative reporters in Phoenix] was back in 11/01/2014 about the count on the waiting list “600,000;” since then I heard it was 800,000 [remember we still have 293 unexplained dead Veterans and 9121 still on the (N.E.A.R.) waiting list here in Phoenix].
    Not 40!—review the hearings.
    Don Karg

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