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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Widow Says VA Took|Blind Husband’s Eyes

(CN) - Not only did a V.A. hospital not diagnose a man's heart condition in time to prevent his death, it also wrongfully harvested his organs, including his eyes, despite knowing that he was blind, his widow claims in court.

Wanda Frierson sued the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Administration individually and on behalf of her deceased husband Kevrek Frierson in Federal Court.

Frierson's widow says he was 53 years old when he died in June 2015 due to a V.A. hospital's lack of treatment for symptoms of a potential impending heart attack. She claims hospital staff conducted "only minimal cardiac evaluation" before initially releasing Frierson.

He had to return to the emergency room a couple days later with bloodshot eyes and intense pain, according to the lawsuit, but he was incorrectly discharged again.

"Despite the obvious manifestation of extreme discomfort, and a worsened condition following the emergency room admission, Veterans Administration personnel insisted on discharging the decedent over the objection of the plaintiff and her family," the complaint states. "The decedent was unable to walk, feed, bathe, or otherwise care for himself. The decedent's debilitated condition was such that he was having difficulty even speaking due to his weakness."

Frierson was brought back to the emergency once again, where a physician agreed that he should not have been discharged, the lawsuit states. He was again released following minimal evaluation and died a day later, his widow claims.

"One day following the last date of hospitalization, the decedent died," the complaint states. "Subsequent to the decedent's death, plaintiff learned that the decedent's so-called 'treatment' consisted of no extensive clinical workup or evaluation, and instead, consisted primarily of the administration of numerous potent medications, many of which are counter-active and must be administered in conjunction of one another only with cautious and observant monitoring."

But it doesn't stop at wrongful death, Frierson's widow claims. She says the V.A. harvested Frierson's organs without permission - including his eyes, even knowing that he was blind.

"Despite the absence of any legal authority to do so, and without any permission of the family to remove the decedent's body from the VA facility, the defendant, through its agent, Tennessee Donor Service (TDS), simply took the decedent's body to an unknown location where various organs were harvested from the decedent's body," the lawsuit states. "Inexplicably, the decedent's eyes were removed ... completely overlooking the dozens of medical records confirming that the decedent was totally blind due to his diabetes."

The lawsuit claims that Frierson's widow was falsely told via telephone that he had authorized the organ donation in writing.

"In the plaintiff's distressed frame of mind, and under the immediate pressure placed upon her, she acquiesced, but did not authorize the completion of what amounts to a meaningless mutilation of the decedent's body," the complaint states.

Frierson's widow seeks $2.5 million for wrongful death and common law battery. She is represented by W. Kennerly Burger of Burger, Scott & McFarlin in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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