Kentucky Family Believes Poor Treatment at Local VA Hospital Led to Their Father’s Death


Family members of World War II veteran Louis Smith believe he may still be alive if it wasn’t for the shoddy care he received at the Lexington, Kentucky Veterans Administration facility, which they described as “inhumane, negligent, and insensitive.”

“He was there for his country and he was proud to do it, and where were they for him?” Betty Abell, Smith’s daughter, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Smith, 91, was a decorated veteran who earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars during his military service.

He mowed his own lawn, cooked his own meals and renewed his driver’s license on his own before his treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2011, the family alleges in a federal tort claim seeking $500,000 in personal injury and the same amount for wrongful death damages, the news site reports.

“What’s unusual about Smith’s case is that his children kept a detailed narrative account of his treatment … because they had always been involved in their parents’ medical care and the notes helped them to communicate with each other and keep track of appointments and treatments,” the Herald-Leader reports.

According to the family’s extensive notes, Smith was taken to his primary care doctor at the Lexington VA Jan. 3, 2011 for kidney problems, and requested to be hospitalized, but the doctor told him “We need to have a reason to admit him,” according to the news site.

A few weeks later, the family took Smith to his family doctor who diagnosed him with full renal failure. Smith was rushed to the emergency room, where a liter of urine was expelled.