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Justice Prevails - Judge Blames VA Hospital for not Treating Veteran's PTSD- Awards $3.7 million

In February, 2007, Sergeant Stanley Laskowski, was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. He was also diagnosed with PTSD at a Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Pennsylvania. Over the next four months, Mr. Laskowski and his wife reached out to the VA hospital 10 times, but Mr. Laskowski was never seen by a physician and was prescribed the wrong medications. He turned to drugs and alcohol to self medicate. With his PTSD not properly treated, one summer night in 2007, Mr Laskowski dressed himself from head to toe in black and broke into a pharmacy in Scranton, Pa. He was caught, charged with burglary, and his once idyllic life was in a tailspin. He lost his job as a financial advisor after burglarizing the pharmacy.

Justice prevails. After a 7 day jury trial in January, 2013, a federal district court judge found the VA hospital inappropriate treatment of Mr. Laskowski's PTSD for those few months led to the break-in, and his decline. He awarded Mr. Laskowski and his wife $3.7 million in the medical malpractice suit they filed after his arrest. The judge awarded Mr. Laskowski $214,582 for past lost earnings; $2.1 million for future lost earnings; $500,000 for past noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation and loss of the ability to enjoy the pleasures of life; and $700,000 for future noneconomic damages. He awarded Mr. Laskowski's wife $140,615 for loss of consortium.

PTSD continues to wreak havoc on those combat veterans afflicted with it. Making matters worse is a broken mental health system ignoring pleas for help like those made by former Sergeant Laskowski. Here's hoping our veterans get the treatment they deserve, and when it fails them, that our judicial system can step in and help prevent further tragedies.

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