Family Questions Man’s Death at Memphis VA Hospital

(Memphis) After three deaths at the Memphis VA Hospital were investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, one family is questioning the care their loved one received.

“He was a fun person to be around. He always kept me laughing,” Lisa Coleman said.

Coleman’s father, Laymon, served his country and worked at the Memphis VA Hospital for 54 years.

In April 2012, he became a patient.

“He complained of chest pains and my sister took him to the emergency room and they said they couldn’t find anything wrong with him so they sent him back home,” she said.

The chest pains didn’t go away. He went back to the VA hospital the next day.

“They admitted him and ran some tests,” she said. “They were going to run some more tests on to him, but they didn’t get around to that.”

That night, he passed away.

“They said he had a blood clot in his lungs,” she said.

Lisa was always concerned about the care he received, and says those concerns were justified when she saw the recent report from the Office of the Inspector General.

It concluded three deaths last year were caused by errors made by the Memphis VA.

When Lisa saw the hospital was investigated, “I said my prayers have been answered. I wanted that to happen.”

All three men in mentioned in the report had also gone to the emergency room.

One man, who was given medicine he was allergic to and later died, was there the same month as her dad.

“Something’s wrong with this hospital,” she said. “They aren’t taking care of the patients like they should.”

Now she wants her father’s file re-opened.

“I need to know what happened,” she said.

The Memphis VA Hospital responded the findings in the report and said it has corrected the problems.

It’s using a tracker system that gives regular updates to staff about any problems.

Patients on heart monitors are regularly observed by staff members, and a nurse educator has been assigned to the emergency department.

Read the full report from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.