Lawsuit Blames Phoenix VA Hospital For Veteran’s Suicide Due To Misdiagnosis


U.S. Army veteran Gene Spencer was at the Phoenix VA Medical Center on Oct. 5, 2012, when a physician told him that cancer had metastasized in his lungs and he should go home to prepare to die.

Three days passed before the 67-year-old husband, writer, audiologist, building contractor and dog lover used a gun to take his own life.


One day after that, Arizona Central reported that Spencer’s wife, Shirley Fobke, says, she received a phone call from the hospital notifying her of good news: There was an error in the diagnosis, and Spencer was not about to die!

The legal papers say Spencer was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010 and had a life expectancy of five to six years with proper treatment. While undergoing treatment, the claim alleges, Spencer received “too much radiation that caused lung problems and his immune system to be deficient.”

Fobke said her husband had been given a prognosis of three to five years, so they drew up a bucket list. By 2012, the big dream was a vacation together in Hawaii.

Those are the key allegations in a wrongful-death action filed April 30 with the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, seeking damages from the VA on behalf of Spencer’s widow.

“As a result of the misdiagnosis,” says the suit, “Shirley Fobke suffered and will continue to suffer emotional and economic injury, lost wages, lost opportunity for financial gain, future earning capacity, loss of consortium, loss of love and affection…”

The $2.5 million lawsuit claims Gene Spencer, 67, shot himself to death in 2012, because his doctor told him his cancer had spread to his lungs, and that he had just weeks to live.

The VA system has come under fire for falsifying wait lists for veterans seeking medical care and for mismanagement.

Of course, officials at the Phoenix VA declined to comment except to offer condolences, the paper said.


Read the full story at AZ Central



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