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Government Healthcare: VA Hospital Leaves Surgical Clamp in Vet’s Chest

August 22, 2010

What you can look forward to when everyone gets government healthcare. Ask the Vets.

The vet testified that members of the VA surgical team knew they had a surgical clamp that was unaccounted for.

Richard Kellar, an Aurora Army veteran who had a surgical clamp left inside his chest following triple-bypass surgery at the Denver Veterans Affairs hospital, was awarded $130,000 in damages by a federal judge Thursday.

Kellar, 61, was disappointed, said his attorney, Derek Cole.

Kellar initially filed a claim against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for $15 million for pain and suffering. Before trial, the government had offered him a $100,000 settlement.

Chief U.S. District Judge Wiley Y. Daniel heard testimony during the three-day trial and issued a ruling from the bench.

“We believe the compensation ordered by the judge is fair and reasonable,” said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney.

On Aug. 30, 2005, Kellar went to the hospital in Denver for the triple bypass. A surgical clamp the size of a jumbo paper clip was misplaced during the surgery.

Kellar testified this week that members of the surgical team knew they had a surgical clamp that was unaccounted for, but they didn’t inform him of the possibility that it was left inside his chest.

It wasn’t until Kellar went to have an MRI done at SkyRidge Medical Center on March 20, 2006, that a doctor there saw the clamp and told Kellar to go back to the VA hospital.

Doctors told Kellar it was too risky to take the clamp out and the clamp would not cause him harm because it was embedded in the muscle.

Kellar doesn’t believe the doctors because of a variety of physical ailments he has.



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