Vietnam Veteran Dies at Bedford, Mass VA: Potential Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice? (Part 1)

hospital-room-300x225A Vietnam veteran died at the Bedford VA Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts this past July while his nurse’s aide played video games on her phone, according to a Boston Globe report. The 68-year-old veteran, Bill Nutter, was hospitalized at the Bedford VA with multiple medical ailments suffered from the effects of Agent Orange, including diabetes and a condition that could suddenly send him into cardiac arrest. Because of this condition, he was to be monitored on an hourly basis by the staff at the VA Medical Center. After his passing, Mr. Nutter’s wife was informed that her husband died of cardiac arrest and “they couldn’t do anything about it”, but days later she was informed by a doctor that allegedly the hourly check-ups had not been performed. It is unknown whether the family has consulted with a medical malpractice attorney. At Tapalian Law, we have helped victims of medical malpractice in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and these sad circumstances sound like they could turn into a potential wrongful death lawsuit for medical malpractice.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare or medical professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. The negligence may be due to errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management. According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorney’s, to be considered medical malpractice under the law, the claim must meet the following criteria:

  • Violation of the standard of care

    – The law acknowledges there are certain medical standards recognized by the profession as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances. This is known as the “standard of care”. A patient has the right to expect that health care professionals will deliver care that is consistent with these standards. If determined that the “standard of care” has not been met, then negligence may be established.

  • Injury was caused by the negligence

    – For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, it is not sufficient enough that a health care professional violated the standard of care. In addition, the patient must prove he or she sustained an injury that would not have occurred in the absence of negligence. A negative outcome by itself is not malpractice. The patient must prove that negligence caused the injury. If there is an injury without negligence or negligence that did not cause an injury, there is not a valid case.

  • Injury resulted in significant damages

    – Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive to litigate and often require testimony of numerous medical experts and countless hours of deposition testimony. For a case to be feasible, the patient must show that significant damages resulted from an injury received due to medical negligence. If the damages are slim, the cost of pursuing the case might be greater than the eventual recovery. To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must prove that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Misreading Laboratory Tests
  • Failing to Order Proper Testing
  • Birth Injuries
  • Anesthesia Errors
  • Medication Errors (dosage, incorrect prescriptions)
  • Surgical Errors (damage to internal organs, leaving items inside the body, operating on incorrect parts)
  • Premature Discharge

What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death case may arise when a patient dies as a result of medical negligence. Certain family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible hospital or doctor. We will explore wrongful death lawsuits in Part 2 of this blog.

Seek Out a Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Attorney for Guidance

If you or a family member feel you have been the victim of medical malpractice resulting in severe injury, consult with a Rhode Island medical malpractice attorney at Tapalian Law.  If you have been injured due to the negligence of a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional, you may be eligible to seek monetary damages for your injuries. A recent study by Johns Hopkins suggests medical malpractice is more common than we may think. Tapalian Law is a personal injury law firm located in Providence who is ready to fight for your right to compensation for a medical malpractice claim. We provide a free consultation to victims of injuries due to medical malpractice, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and slip & fall accidents. Contact medical malpractice injury attorney David Tapalian today at


to discuss your potential medical malpractice claim or accident related injury. You can also contact us via our easy, online form.

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