The federal government will pay $1 million to the estate of a veteran who died of lung cancer after VA doctors dismissed obvious signs of lung cancer on x-rays over a five year period. The family of Gary Wynkoop claims that VA doctors’ diagnostic negligence prevented him from seeking timely treatment that could’ve prevented his death.
The $1 million sum is appointed evenly between the wrongful death and survival action claims. Without admitting liability in Wynkoop’s death, the government and his living family members finalized the deal in an Illinois federal court on May 8, 2020.
In Aug. 2017, Wynkoop’s wife filed a $40 million lawsuit against the U.S. government. Her suit alleged that a Chicago VA Medical Center missed signs of cancer on her husband’s chest x-rays at least five times between 2012-2014. Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that doctors failed to notice changes in the shape and size in an area of Wynkoop’s lungs.
Unfortunately, Wynkoop wasn’t diagnosed with cancer until January 2015, when doctors at Porter Regional Hospital spotted a mass on his lungs. Later, the clinical staff at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with lung cancer. He passed away on May 29, 2016.
While Jennie Wynkoop passed away in April 2019, however, her son was able to take up the suit as a special administrator of the estate.
Another step in the right direction to give hope to veterans
Over the last several months, there have been significant strides in holding the veteran hospitals and doctors for negligent behaviors that harm our nation’s Veterans. In Dec. 2019, the Senate approved a provision that allows active-duty military personnel and their surviving families to seek compensation for military medical malpractice.
The move was spurred by the very public lawsuit and veteran advocacy of Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, a North Carolina Green Beret. Stayskal wasn’t diagnosed until he had stage 3 cancer. Currently, Staykal’s cancer at stage 4 and terminal.
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The VA has a history of negligently handling our brothers and sisters in uniform through medical misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. If this is your story contact VLAP to connect with legal counsel that we trust.