, , ,

Family Of Veteran Who Died At Tomah VA Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Attorney Says US Government Officials Haven't Responded To Damages Claim

VA Medical Center
Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

The family of a veteran who died at the Tomah VA Medical Center has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States government.

In August 2014, Marine Corps veteran Jason Simcakoski died from a mixture of drugs prescribed by his physicians. After Simcakoski’s death, his wife, Heather Simcakoski, filed a settlement claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for damages caused by alleged negligence of VA medical staff.

Government officials haven’t made an effort to address the issue, prompting the filing of the lawsuit Monday, said Terrence Polich, Heather Simcakoski‘s attorney.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“This family did not want to have to put this matter into suit,” Polich said. “There was a great deal of interest in getting this resolved. They had been assured that there would be an attempt to resolve it, and the government really did not follow through on that.”

Polich said VA doctors didn’t take proper precautions when coupling Suboxone with Jason Simcakoski’s other medications. Polich also said VA medical staff didn’t properly monitor the veteran after administering the drug and didn’t react quickly enough when he was found unresponsive.

The Simcakoski family has worked with the Tomah VA and federal lawmakers on changes to opioid prescription practices and other issues. Polich said the family plans to continue to be involved in working to make the Tomah VA — and VA system as a whole — better at caring for veterans.

“One of the things that very well could result from this litigation is we could discover further facts that will assist in reforming the VA in Tomah and the VA in general,” Polich said.

The VA didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.