Stanley Laskowski and his wife were awarded $3.7 million in a medical malpractice suit they filed after an incident in 2007 where Mr. Laskowski broke into a pharmacy in Scranton, Pennsylvania to steal drugs. This occurred four months after he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VA). The charges that resulted from the break-in were dropped and then purged from his record.
After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in February 2007, Mr. Laskowski went to the VA hospital for help. He had also started working as a financial adviser for Keystone Financial. During the four months prior to the break-in, Mr. Laskowski and his wife attempted to obtain help from the VA ten times. However, Mr. Laskowski never saw a physician and while he was prescribed medications they were not the correct medications. In addition, after the break-in at the pharmacy he was fired from his job.
The judge ruled in favor to the Laskowskis stating that the VA hospital did not give Mr. Laskowski the appropriate care he needed during those four months that led to the break-in despite initially being a good patient. In addition to not providing Mr. Laskowski with proper treatment for his PTSD, they also administered a medication that was addictive and resulted in Mr. Laskowski’s self-medication with alcohol and illegal drugs. The judge also found that had the plaintiff’s condition not become worse after going to the VA hospital to seek treatment he would have still be able to function normally and work, but the actions of the VA hospital caused Mr. Laskowski’s condition to become worse. This led to his permanently disabled status.
Mr. Laskowski was awarded $214,582 for past lost earnings, $2.1 million for his future lost earnings, $700,000 for future noneconomic damages, and $500,000 for past noneconomic damages, such as embarrassment, humiliation, pain and suffering, and loss of the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures. In addition his wife was awarded $140,615 for loss of consortium.
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