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VA Death Lawsuit Refiled

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VA death lawsuit refiled

An Ypsilanti widow has re-instituted a $1.8-million lawsuit blaming the Ann Arbor VA Hospital for the death of her husband in 1975. ,

Cora Lee Blaine filed a similar lawsuit last year seeking damages for the death of Bennie C. Blaine, one of a number of patients who succumbed during a series of mysterious breathing failures that swept through the hospital during the summer of 1975.

But last April a federal judge dismissed the suit by ruling Mrs. Blaine’s lawyer, George Wahr Sallade, had failed to follow certain rules of procedures. The judge’s ruling was made “without prejudice,” meaning that the lawsuit could be re-filed at a later date.

IN THE LATEST suit, Mrs. Blaine asks for $1,877,876.35 damages, in compensation for loss of ' support, burial expenses, pain, suffering and mental distress in addition to loss of companionship.

The widow charges that the hospital failed to provide her late husband with proper care; that he was not kept clean; that his colo-plast bag was not emptied and changed; that broken glass was allowed to accumulate in his bed; and that his calls to nurses for assistance were ignored.

Blaine died on Aug. 28, 1975. During his stay at the hospital he suffered three sudden breathing failures that a criminal investigation at the hospital later found were caused by unauthorized injections of a drug that paralyzed his breathing muscles.

Two VA nurses were tried and convicted of causing breathing failures at the hospital, but a federal judge ordered a new trial because prosecutor misconduct had so prejudiced the jurors they could not reach an impartial verdict.

The justice department reviewed the case and decided against trying to re-indict the two nurses.

Blaine was one of 35 patients who experienced a total of 51 breathing failures during their hospital stays. As many as 10 men may have been killed as a result of breathing failures caused by the unauthorized injections of drugs.