HOUSTON - A Houston woman has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs which she blames for her husband’s death.
"He was my best friend,” said Clara Ellis. "He was a wonderful husband and a great father."
The couple shared 17 years as husband and wife. Clara worked as a waitress while her husband, Larry, was a former U.S. Marine who proudly served his country.
"He actually loved being in the service and the time that he served in the service,” said Clara.
Clara said her husband trusted that the VA wouldn’t let him down when he went in to the VA Medical Center for what was supposed to be a routine procedure to remove a small tumor from his Adrenal gland.
But there was one problem, Larry had had an allergic reaction in the past to general anesthesia.
"He had already told the department of Veterans affairs that he couldn't be given anesthesia,” said Clara. “So the agreement was to give him a local sedative for that."
In February of 2011, the doctor rushed into the waiting room filled with his family and asked for them to step inside the conference room.
"He said that they had lost Larry on the table and that his heart had given out and he was fighting for his life,” said Clara.
He lost his fight the very next month, and that when his wife’s fight began.
She says the doctors admitted to their mistake.
“That they had given him anesthesia and when they started to administer the anesthesia, they lost him,” said Clara.
She filed a lawsuit accusing doctors of negligence, but with no legal representation the case lingered.
"It's like you're on the back burner,” said Clara, “The veterans go to war to fight war, but they come back home at war again to fight the Department of Veterans Affairs."
After more than five years of waiting, there are no more delays. She's finally about to have her day in court.
We talked to officials here about what happened. A spokesperson would only say the hospital provides high standards of care to all veterans and referred us to the US Attorney's Office where no one would comment due to the pending lawsuit.
Clara is not a marine, but she knows how to fight.
"Because it's not just about me and my husband Larry Ellis,” said Clara. “I feel the pain of every veteran all over the world."
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