Thanks, Uncle Sam

ANNISTON, Ala. (CN) – The United States denied service benefits to an Army lieutenant colonel who suffered two traumatic injuries in his first week of deployment to Iraq and then a staph infection, the officer claims in court.
     Roger D. Yearwood sued the United States on Aug. 15, in Federal Court.
     Yearwood was sent to Iraq in January 2010. In his first week there, he “suffered two traumatic injuries,” which he does not describe in the lawsuit.
     “Plaintiff then developed a pyogenic infection of staphylococcus aureus bacteria that first manifested on January 17, 2010,” according to the complaint.
     A pyogenic infection is characterized by severe inflammation, with pus.
     He was treated at Camp Victory, in Iraq, then at a U.S. base in Germany, and finally at Walter Reed Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md.
     At Walter Reed, he was diagnosed with the staph infection, and “simultaneously diagnosed with sternoclavicular osteomyelitis and septic arthritis – a bone infection and a joint infection, respectively – resulting from the same bacteria taking up residence in his shoulder,” he says in the complaint.
     Yearwood says his injuries are covered under the Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, but agency denied his request for benefits, and the Army denied his appeal.
     He says the denials were arbitrary and capricious.
     He wants his benefits, of $25,000, plus interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
     He is represented by Frank S. James III.

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