Local woman sues VA hospital for husband's death - WSMV Channel 4

Local woman sues VA hospital for husband's death

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Jesse Brooks, center, died after he was not treated for cancer, according to his wife. Jesse Brooks, center, died after he was not treated for cancer, according to his wife.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A local woman is suing the federal government after she claims the VA Hospital did not catch her husband's cancer until it was too late.

Wanda Brooks wants to know why the deadly disease was not caught earlier.

"It was total neglect," said Wanda Brooks, who is accusing the VA of killing her husband, Jesse Brooks.

She said the VA failed to follow up after a questionable X-ray five years before his death.

"I knew what he was experiencing was not normal," said Wanda Brooks.

Jesse Brooks was a World War II and Korean War veteran. Wanda Brooks said as early as 2006 he was coughing day and night.

"They had taken a chest X-ray of him in '06 but never told us there was anything in the lungs," said Wanda Brooks. "But there was."

The 2006 medical records showed he was suspected of having COPD and fibrosis.

Wanda Brooks said the doctors at the VA hospital in Nashville only prescribed Tylenol and Mucinex and to drink more water. She said they never sent her husband to a specialist until February 2011, when it was too late.

"The lung doctor said, 'There is nothing I can do,'" said Wanda Brooks.

Jesse Brooks had Stage 4 lung cancer. It had spread all over his body. He died a few months later.

"He was a strong man," said Wanda Brooks. "He could have withstood the treatment. He would be alive today, but they ignored me and they ignored him."

Wanda Brooks is suing the VA in federal court for her husband and for all the other veterans.

"He loved the VA. He loved his country. He fought for his country," said Wanda Brooks. "Anything they would ask of him, he would do. He really loved this country.

"I will hound them until they do something, until they say, ‘I'm sorry, we did kill your husband.' That's the only thing they can say because he didn't get the proper treatment."

The Veterans Administration hasn't filed a response to the lawsuit. Paperwork in the clerk's office shows it hasn't been served with a copy of the suit.

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