Veteran with cancer sues Phoenix VA for $50M, alleges negligent care

Oct 27, 2015, 3:34 PM
Follow @MaurerMartha...

PHOENIX — An Army veteran filed a $50 million lawsuit this week against the Phoenix Veterans Administration hospital alleging negligent care led to his delayed cancer diagnosis.

In the lawsuit, 44-year-old Steven Cooper claimed he tried for months to get an appointment at the hospital but was repeatedly denied, rescheduled or had his appointment canceled by VA staff before seeing a nurse practitioner in December 2011.

Cooper’s lawyer, Gregory Patton, said the nurse practitioner found abnormalities with Cooper’s prostate, but failed to order further testing or a follow up.

In December 2012, Cooper saw a VA doctor who ordered a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. After a biopsy, Cooper, an 18-year veteran, was diagnosed with Stage Four prostate cancer.

“Had they [VA] done what was required by the medical standard of care and done PSA testing, they would have been able to treat Steve’s prostate cancer a year before,” Patton said. “Instead, they caused a delay of at least a year, which allowed the aggressive cancer to spread to become incurable and untreatable.”

Patton said the $50 million sought by the suit goes beyond pain and suffering.

“Just because Steve’s life is priceless doesn’t mean it’s worthless,” he said. “We think that is a reasonable value on Steven Cooper’s life.”

The Phoenix VA does not comment on pending litigation. However, spokesperson Jean Schaefer said the hospital has worked over the last two years to make changes in its urology department, including hiring more full-time staff.

“We’ve also taken a number of steps to increase the timeliness of appointments as well as how we process consults to that specific department,” she said.

Last month, a marine who was hit by a car after being discharged by the Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital filed a $15.1 million lawsuit against the facility. The federal government has not yet responded to the case.

Arizona News

pixabay photo...
Alex Weiner

AZGFD offers reward for information about illegal javelina shooting in Tucson

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering $1,500 for information regarding a javelina shooting in Tucson.
8 hours ago
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)...
Associated Press

US District judge considers request to block Arizona abortion law

A lawyer for several Arizona abortion providers urged a federal judge Wednesday to block a new state law that would allow prosecutors to charge doctors who knowingly terminate a pregnancy solely because the fetus has a genetic abnormality.
8 hours ago
(Pixabay photo)...
Griselda Zetino

Wet monsoon in Arizona brings record-high season for West Nile virus

This year’s wet monsoon in Arizona has created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and that’s leading to a record-high season for the West Nile virus.
8 hours ago
(Salt River Project Photo)...
KTAR.com

SRP’s largest solar power plant in Arizona to be developed northwest of Flagstaff

Arizona public utility Salt River Project announced Wednesday the company's largest solar plant in the state will be developed northwest of Flagstaff.
8 hours ago
A mechanic works on replacing a catalytic converter in Davie, Florida, in this 2009 file photo. (Ph...
Kevin Stone

Mesa police make 3 arrests in battle against catalytic converter thefts

Mesa police said Wednesday they are working to combat a rise in catalytic converter thefts, with an undercover operation resulting in three arrests so far.
8 hours ago
Hans Hughes (Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors photo)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix ambassador dies after being struck by alleged drunk driver in August

A member of the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors died Tuesday after being struck by an alleged drunk driver in August, Downtown Phoenix Inc. said.
8 hours ago
Veteran with cancer sues Phoenix VA for $50M, alleges negligent care