The personal injury medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the U.S. government alleging a Veteran’s Affairs medical center in Arizona denied access to care and failed to diagnose military veteran, college professor, and businessman Steven Cooper with advanced-stage prostate cancer.
VA Repeatedly Cancels Vet’s Appointments, Ignores Prostate Abnormality
Mr. Cooper is 44 years old and served in the Army for almost 18 years, the Phoenix Business Journal reported. He was honorably discharged in 2007. As a veteran, Steven Cooper sought treatment at the Carl. T. Hayden VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Phoenix, Arizona.
According to the complaint, Mr. Cooper had difficulty being seen by a doctor because the VAMC rescheduled or cancelled appointments repeatedly. When he was finally seen by a nurse practitioner, Mr. Cooper’s prostate examination showed abnormality. The nurse practitioner, however, ordered no further testing, did not refer Mr. Cooper to a specialist, and advised no further treatment or follow-up.
One Year Later, VA Diagnoses Terminal Prostate Cancer
Mr. Cooper saw a doctor at the VAMC a year later who diagnosed him with terminal, stage four prostate cancer. The VAMC did not recommend any treatment but advised him to seek hospice care, the lawsuit says. Mr. Cooper was forced to seek treatment outside of the VAMC to find another doctor who was able to treat him. After radical surgery, Mr. Cooper is still terminally ill.
“Steven Cooper served our country and the VA allowed a treatable disease to spread,” said Eric Gibbs, one of Mr. Cooper’s attorneys. “It is now incurable and he can’t get his life back.”
Lawsuit Says Extensive Injuries Could Have Been Prevented
Mr. Cooper sued the VAMC in the Federal District Court of Arizona to recover damages for his injuries, pain and suffering, and substantial lost wages resulting from the lack of proper medical care and diagnoses.
The lawsuit alleges that if Mr. Cooper had been properly tested and treated at the VAMC in the years leading up to his diagnosis, he would not have suffered extensive injuries — including incontinence, nerve damage, neuropathy, pain, osteopenia, hip and pelvic fractures, gynecomastia, impotence, and weakness, among other debilitating problems.
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