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VA Settles Widow’s |Claim for $975,000

(CN) - The widow of an Air Force veteran who died after gallbladder surgery at a VA Hospital has settled her lawsuit against the government for $975,000. Katrina Shank sought $12 million after her husband, Robert Shank III, bled to death one day after surgery in August 2007.

Shank claimed the government did not sufficiently check the background of Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez before hiring him in January 2006.

Veizaga-Mendez resigned three days after the surgery, and major surgeries at the Marion, Ill., hospital were halted after inspectors linked several patient deaths to questionable surgical care, the widow said.

Settlement terms were not disclosed, but Shanks' attorney Stan Heller told the Associated Press that the sum amounts to an admission of responsibility by the government.

"They wouldn't be paying close to $1 million if they didn't believe they screwed up," Heller said. "The government doesn't toss money like that around easily."

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