Veteran settles medical malpractice lawsuit with McGuire VA Medical Center

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An Army veteran who brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the McGuire VA Medical Center has settled for nearly $1 million.

8News’ Parker Slaybaugh first told you about the lawsuit when Michael Holmes filed it back in December. It stemmed from a stroke he suffered as a result of a surgery that, as it turned out, he didn’t even need.

“I’m wondering if I will ever regain use of my arm,” Holmes said.

Holmes served his country with pride, and therefore is eligible for care through McGuire VA Medical Center. But in May 2015, his doctor performed what should have been a short one-hour surgery to clean out what he diagnosed as a near completely blocked carotid artery.

As it turned out, though, that artery wasn’t an issue. Holmes suffered a massive stroke.

“The surgery lasted for five hours,” said Holmes, who didn’t leave the hospital for 60 days. “About four weeks, I couldn’t walk, I think about four days I couldn’t talk.”

The effects still linger. He only has roughly 10 percent use of his arm.

“If I try to straighten my fingers, my hand doesn’t respond,” he explained.

Holmes is also uneasy on his feet. Plus, his speech is still greatly affected.

I’m sure you notice that I hesitate when I speak,” he said.

Holmes said that a week before the surgery he was also told to stop taking aspirin, which the lawsuit alleged should routinely be continued through the surgery as it helped to prevent blockages.

Holmes’ attorney, Glen Sturtevant, says since this lawsuit, procedures have been changed.

“The VA has in fact now changed its policy for veterans who are undergoing the surgery that Mr. Holmes underwent,” Sturtevant explained. “They now change their policy to require those veterans to make sure they are taking aspirin and anti-platelet therapy medicines.”

Two years later, Holmes said he holds no resentment or ill will towards the VA and asks his doctors every chance he gets when he will make a full recovery.

“Their response is, I may never be fully recovered.”

Holmes said he hopes the $750,000 settlement will allow he and his wife to be able to survive for the rest of their lives. 8News reached out to McGuire VA for comment; we were referred to their Office of General Council.

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