NM Veteran: VA has ruined my life

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A New Mexico veteran claims doctors mistakenly left medical devices inside his body. His lawyer has filed a tort claim after the man says a surgery meant to fix his problems, ruined his life.

Sean Hudson told KRQE News 13 he’s had countless back and forth with the Albuquerque VA Hospital, all to fix his shoulder. But, he said the doctor left a screw in his body, and made things even worse.

“It’s basically ruined my life,” Hudson explained. He said the botched surgery has yet to be fixed.

The Marine Corps veteran served in Iraq. When he came home to Albuquerque to see a doctor about his shoulder he’d injured while in the military, a surgery he had in May of 2013 changed his life.

“They found that my bicep tendon needed to be re-attached, they found a ton of scar tissue,” said Hudson. His dealings with the VA since then have been less than ideal.

Hudson’s pain was worse.

“Anytime I relax, my shoulder falls out of socket,” he said. When he had it checked out again, “they cut it open, they found this little guy,” said Hudson, picking up a small silicon disc about the size of a quarter, left from medical equipment.

The silicon disc had been lodged in his shoulder, but that wasn’t it. Hudson later learned the surgeon left a screw floating around in there too.

He took cell phone video of a conversation with his doctor.

“Shouldn’t it have been screwed into the bone?” Hudson asked the doctor, as the two looked at x-rays of the screw. “Yeah, but, it wasn’t. It wasn’t into the bone like we had wished,” the doctor said.

X-rays show the screw is still there, and tore through his rotator cuff. According to Hudson, doctors had scheduled him for an evaluation in Boston, Massachusetts, but the day before he was set to travel, the VA cancelled, and did not reschedule an appointment.

“For Sean to have to go through over a year of problems arising from medical devices left in his shoulder, not even from the wounds he initially had, but from what we contend to be the malpractice arising at the VA is just unacceptable,” explained David Standridge, Hudson’s Attorney.

“This is just a prime example of some of the problems that our veterans are facing,” added Standridge.

A man collapsed in Albuquerque’s VA Hospital cafeteria Monday afternoon, and even though he was yards away from the emergency room, he had to wait for an ambulance to drive him around the building, and died.

As for Hudson, he said he hasn’t been able to work since October. His medication keeps him from driving, and he has limited mobility, which keeps him from playing with his daughter.

The downfall from his surgery last year has caused a ripple effect of problems Hudson never expected.

“I used to be big into outdoors, rock-climbing, camping, skiing, snowboarding all that stuff,” he added.

“I’m facing jail time because I can’t afford to pay child support anymore, I have no income,” said Hudson. He’s hoping someone can help him soon. “I want my life back,” he said.

Hudson said he also suffers from PTSD from the war. He’s applied for disability, and VA benefits for PTSD, but says the VA has failed to address his claim or his injury.

The VA wouldn’t comment to News 13 about his case, citing patient privacy laws.

As for the man who died Monday, VA officials said their staff followed policy in calling 911. Officials said that policy is now under expedited review.

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