Urbana, Illinois. – The Estate of a deceased Pastor from Central Illinois has reached a settlement for one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) with the U.S. Government in a medical malpractice/wrongful death claim against the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville, Illinois. The cause of action was filed in the U.S. District Court in Crenshaw v. USA, No. 2:17-cv-2304.
The one-million dollar settlement is the largest against the Department of Veterans Affairs in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois since at least 2006. The Estate was represented by Steigmann Law of Champaign/Savoy and Langacker Law of Urbana.
Rev. Crenshaw was a veteran of the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1983. He had been Pastor at Christian Center of Hope in Danville, Illinois and was a member of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Indianapolis.
The suit alleged that from 2000 through 2015, the VA repeatedly failed to recognize and/or adequately treat Rev. Crenshaw’s increasingly worsening symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the suit alleges that the VA neglected to order an electrocardiogram for Rev. Crenshaw, a routine test which would have enabled earlier detection of his severe cardiac issues.
By December of 2015, Rev. Crenshaw’s health had deteriorated to the point where he was continuously out of breath, coughed frequently, and had severe edema in both of his legs. Rev. Crenshaw’s diabetes was no longer being controlled by medication. He could only walk short distances before becoming out of breath and required in-home care.
It was only at that time, in December of 2015, that the VA ordered an electrocardiogram, which showed that Rev. Crenshaw was suffering from severe and life-threatening congestive heart failure. Rev. Crenshaw died from complications several weeks later. He was 55 years old at the time of his death, and left behind his widow, Ms. Raenell Crenshaw, and their 8 children, including several special-needs foster children who were residing in the home.
“Mrs. Crenshaw is relieved that the case is finally over, and that she has received justice,” Langacker stated of the suit, which was filed in 2017, and not settled until 2020. “Rev. Crenshaw’s untimely passing left a wound that will never be truly healed. However, we believe that the settlement will allow the estate to care for Mr. Crenshaw’s family who have been left to continue their lives.”
The individual physicians at the VA are often shielded from personal liability and malpractice claims and patients are unable to seek punitive damages against the federal government. Despite this fact, the VA paid approximately $338 million in legal settlements from 2011 to 2015, according to the New York Daily News.
The increasing amount of preventable medical errors occurring at VA facilities is a disturbing trend. The veteran population continues to age and will require more and more medical care.
Veterans from more recent wars, like Iraq and Afghanistan, number around 1.2 million and will put an increased strain on the already overworked and underfunded health care system for our nation’s veterans.
Steigmann Law, PC is a Central Illinois law firm which specializes in medical malpractice and personal injury, as well as other matters involving complex litigation.