Lawyer: VA delay killed Washington state man

SEATTLE — A Tacoma lawyer says the death of a Seattle Veterans Affairs hospital patient mirrors concerns of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals around the country.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court, Donald Douglass had a small spot on his forehead when he went to the Seattle VA in 2011. A biopsy confirmed it was cancerous. Attorney Jennifer Holman says the spot should have been removed immediately because Douglass was on immunosuppressant drugs, but it took four months for him to get the appointment.

By then the cancer had spread. He died about a year later.

More than two dozen VA facilities are being investigated nationwide, but no evidence of systemic problems at the Seattle VA hospital has surfaced publicly. The VA has denied liability in Douglass’ case.

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