With all of the illnesses and sick persons present, hospitals and nursing homes can pose a significant health risk for anyone who must spend more than a few days in such a facility. A newly filed lawsuit in Georgia against the Veteran’s Administration now alleges a new risk: fire ants.
The allegations of the complaint
According to the allegations of the complaint filed by the man’s family, the victim served in the Air Force from 1962 to 1968. He was admitted to a Veterans Administration hospital near Atlanta with terminal lung cancer. The family alleges that the man was bedridden and unable to help himself when several dozen fire ants invaded his room.
The family claims that he was lucid and alert before he was bitten by fire ants “dozens and dozens” of times. The hospital staff moved the man to another room. The complaint alleges that the hospital staff was negligent in failing to protect the victim from the invasion of the ants. The complaint also alleges that the hospital staff failed to advise the man’s family about his perilous situation. The man died two days after he was moved to another room.
The VA’s response
The victim’s family has started a lawsuit naming the VA and a well- known pest control company as defendants. The VA has denied the claims of negligence, citing an opinion expressed in the autopsy that the ants had nothing to do with the victim’s death. The family’s attorney responded that the cumulative effect of the toxins released by the ants were just enough to push the victim “over the edge.”
The complaint alleges the family’s damages to equal $20 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The central issue in the case is likely to be whether the ants actually caused the man’s death. Both sides will undoubtedly produce expert witnesses to support their side of the case.
Anyone who has lost a loved one who was hospitalized of living in a nursing home may wish to consult a lawyer experienced in medical and nursing home injury cases for an analysis of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages.