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PRESS RELEASE: ABC 15 Profiles Snyder & Wenner’s $3.2 Million Verdict against the Phoenix VA Hospital

Snyder & Wenner’s $3.2 million verdict against the Phoenix VA Hospital was again profiled on ABC15 last night. The story follows up on the previous story ABC15 had done prior to the trial, which exposed the VA’s negligent treatment of Jacob Amrani.

The story points out that Snyder & Wenner’s verdict is one of the highest against the VA in recent history. Attorneys David Wenner, Brian Snyder, and Howard Snyder litigated the case against the U.S. government for approximately 3 years, culminating in a 2 week trial in Federal Court in February 2015. Over the last 32 years, Snyder & Wenner has built a reputation of excellence in medical malpractice cases. They hired top experts from throughout the country to inform the Federal Judge of what happened, why it happened, and how it could have been easily avoided had the VA used reasonable care in treating Dr. Amrani. The collective testimony of these experts proved to a reasonable degree of medical and scientific certainty that the VA doctor was negligent, and that he caused Dr. Amrani’s permanent, severe injury. When asked for comment on the case, attorney David Wenner stated, “As patient safety advocates, we were honored to represent Dr. Amrani in this case. The government fought us tooth and nail every step of the way, so we are beyond thrilled that the judge vindicated Dr. Amrani and held the VA responsible for his negligent conduct. No amount of money will ever get Dr. Amrani back to his pre-injury self, but we are very proud that our hard work paid off for Dr. Amrani and for our community. We hope that this case will be the start of a positive change in how veterans are treated in our country.”

The full story from ABC15 can be seen here. The article has been reproduced below:

“A former Army doctor who was permanently injured during a shoulder surgery at the Phoenix VA won a multi-million dollar judgment, records show.

A federal judge awarded $3.2 million in damages to Jacob Amrani. The total includes $2.9 million in economic damages and $300,000 in non-economic damages.

“I feel absolute vindication,” Amrani said. “They did more than deny my claim. They tried to blame me. They tried to make me the villain.”


The judge’s order ends Amrani’s three-year legal battle against the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The judgement appears to be one of the highest in recent history.

After the surgery, the VA repeatedly denied it had done anything wrong.

In a letter, VA officials wrote, “we regret that Dr. Amrani suffered complications after surgery. However, our investigation found that VA providers did not negligently injury your client.”

But after a two-week trial, the judge ruled the VA’s surgeon was below the standard of care in six different areas.

A VA spokesperson released the following statement: “As with any large healthcare organization, courts sometimes find that VA patients deserve compensation for medical injuries. When these legal judgments occur, VA reviews its procedures and the Court’s findings to seek improvements to the health care VA delivers to Veterans.”

The ABC15 Investigators profiled Amrani’s case last year.

At the time, it was one of more than 200 claims filed against the Phoenix VA for wrongful death or injury since 2004.

Amrani is a former Army doctor who says a routine shoulder surgery at the Phoenix’s Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center left him without full use of his arm. It’s now impossible to do most of the operations he practiced as a spine surgeon for the past 20 years, he said.

During surgery to fix Amrani’s rotator cuff, a VA doctor discovered an unexpected tumor, records show.

“(The surgeon) should have stopped,” Amrani said in an interview last year. “He should have absolutely stopped, and he should have either closed and sewed me up or he should have sent a small piece of the tumor for a biopsy.”

That’s not what happened.

“He shelled out the entire (tumor) in one piece,” Amrani said.

When asked what he meant by “shelled,” he said, “That means he dug it out with his fingers and it’s kind of like trying to shell out an orange from its rind in one piece.”

The ABC15 Investigators reviewed a consent form that was signed by both Amrani and the operating doctor before the surgery. Nowhere on the 6-page form does it discuss what to do in the event that a tumor is discovered.

The tumor ended up being benign, records show.

The doctor who performed Armani’s surgery is Dr. Christopher Crandford. At the time, he was employed part-time by the VA.

He is now a full-time surgeon, records show.

His 2014 salary was nearly $356,000, making him one of the highest paid employees in the Phoenix VA.

Last year, Amrani also filed an official complaint with the Department of Justice accusing the assistant U.S. attorney handling his case of abuse, misconduct, and waste.

Read the complaint.

Before a deposition, the complaint claimed that when the attorney was asked about 40 patients who died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA, she responded that was “just job security for her.”

For over 32 years, Snyder & Wenner has focused its practice on medical malpractice and wrongful death claims in the greater Phoenix area. The firm has routinely been honored as a Best Law Firm by US News & World Report, and all three attorneys have received awards from Super Lawyers.

Date: August 28, 2015

Medical Malpractice
Patient Safety

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