Veteran healthcare is such a complex issue and among all the changes in legislature, traumatic situations may arise and color the way veterans see healthcare. And when that happens, it is the family’s right to receive retribution for unfortunate outcomes that didn’t have to come to be.
And one Tamoca area family is grieving the loss of their family member, and a lawsuit has come out of this loss. George Walker was 75 when he died at home July 1, 2016. He was about a week shy of surgery at the local VA hospital - Puget Sound Health Care System for a new heart valve. The veteran also received service at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center. The surgery was delayed and if the procedure was taken care of sooner, Walker may very well could have had a very different outcome. His wife has sued, as she believes that the timing of the medical procedures could have helped lengthen her husband’s life. His livelihood was cut unnecessarily short. Peggy Walker added that, her husband served in the Air Force from 1959 to 1967. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Walker held a commanding presence in so many people’s lives. For nearly three decades, he worked as a foreman at a Seattle warehouse, where he gained the respect with anyone he worked with. His family adored him and the loss resonates clearly with his family and friends.
Walker’s wife’s lawsuit states that her husband, George Walker, called the VA’s American Lake Division on June 20, 2016 to try to see a doctor. He was experiencing shortness of breath and pain in his chest and his doctor told him to go to urgent care. Once there the next day, he was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a hereditary narrowing of his aortic valve. He was assigned a surgery date nearly two weeks later. Walker did pass away before surgery. His wife believes that medical officials withheld lifesaving information.
Jessica Holman Duthie, the attorney representing the Walker family states that “They (medical officials) absolutely shouldn’t have sent him home,” and the fact they didn’t is rightfully a sore spot. The VA Puget Sound did release a statement. There stated that ““mourns the loss of every Veteran. While VA does not typically comment on pending litigation, VA Puget Sound’s wait times at both our Seattle and Tacoma locations are better, on average, than local non-VA hospitals as we are continually striving to improve our service and efficiency.” It is a sadness and a hardship to go through when a death that could be prevented. It is one of life’s tragedies.
You can find more information about this case at http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article193314309.html.