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Trial to begin over patient’s treatment at Phoenix VA hospital

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A terminally ill Army veteran will get his day in court starting Monday, as a trial begins against the Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix.

Steven Cooper, who is suffering from stage-four cancer, filed the lawsuit in October 2015, accusing the hospital of failing to order more tests after alerting him to abnormalities.

He has sued the troubled facility for $50 million.

Cooper said in his lawsuit that a nurse practitioner at the VA hospital should have ordered additional tests and referred him to a urologist when he had complained of health problems in 2011.

Instead, he said, his health deteriorated and he went back to the VA. At that time, he was told he had terminal prostate cancer

He sought treatment from a private physician.

Lawyers defending the VA said the nurse practitioner’s examination didn’t turn up indications of cancer and that Cooper didn’t complain of urinary symptoms during the appointment.

The Phoenix VA has been in the glare of the spotlight since 2014, when a federal agency’s report revealed that 35 veterans had died while waiting for medical care. The scandal included covering up excessive wait times for appointments and inadequate treatment.

Senior officials at the hospital were fired.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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