We can all agree that the men and women of our armed forces deserve the very best in medical care upon returning home, can’t we?

Everyone from our Vietnam vets, to those who are serving in Operation Iraqi freedom deserve care that is of the best quality. Sadly, if you read the news you know this has not been the case in the last few years.

Lawsuits for failing to clean colonoscopy tubes, Walter Reed hospital infested with rats.

Here in Southwest Virginia, our firm has successfully represented a veteran of the Iraq war, who underwent an orthopedic surgery stemming from an injury sustained while in the military. The surgeon (who as an aside, had been denied privileges at a local hospital because of a substance abuse problem prior to being hired by the VA) snipped a blood vessel during surgery. After the surgery, my client and his wife noticed significant swelling near the incision. Despite pain medication, my client suffered extreme pain.

Although the surgeon tried to discharge my client, his wife (thank god for her tenacity) refused to leave the VA stating her husband was in too much pain to go home.

Within the first 24 hours, my client’s wife had done research and told the orthopedic staff she thought her husband was suffering from compartment syndrome. Compartment Syndrome happens, often after surgeries, when blood begins to fill the space between your nerves, bones etc – and eventually, the pressure begins to press on the nerves causing nerve damage.

Despite two days of insisting her husband was suffering from this medical phenomenon, the staff did little but monitor the wound and provide pain medication.

Finally, after 48 hours, when blood began to seep through the staples in his leg, a physician assistant encouraged a 2nd doctor to perform an emergency fasciotomy to relieve the pressure.

While the PA was correct, the delay in treatment caused permanent nerve damage.

This young Iraqi vet, just over 30 years old, is now on pain killers for the rest of his life, and suffers from a dropped foot – which prevents him from enjoying many activities he loves, like running, basketball etc.

Although we can’t apologize for the care he received, and we can’t undo the injury, at least he has enough money now to pay for the pain medication and possible surgeries.

After all, you can’t blame him for not wanting to go back to the VA for follow up care.

Under the Federal Tort Claim Act, attorneys can only recover 20%-25% on suits against the VA. This means my client received 80% of the recovery, and he deserved every penny.

Please do not hesitate to call Frith Law Firm with questions about care received at Virginia Veterans Administration Hospitals. Although we cannot guarantee that this successful result will occur in every case, we are confident we can evaluate your case and advise your family appropriately.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at