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Jul-13-2009 02:00printcomments

Special Report: Are the 11 Montana VA Deaths Murder?

VA 'Quack' Scandal in Montana Worst Yet.

Salem-News.com
"Patriotic Images at Montana Veterans" image courtesy: Montana Veterans Memorial

(CLEVELAND, Ohio ) - When a whistleblower brought records of 28 veterans who were undiagnosed and untreated to VA authorities in Montana, he was threatened, bullied and abused. No surprise here. When forced to investigate, the hospital quickly found all claims were false.

The doctor's name is secret. We assume he is a radiologist. He treated 5800 patients, some are known to have died. Was this simple "malpractice" or a pattern of criminal behavior that may have led to the deaths of many Montana veterans?

Examining the VA Inspector Generals report, we now understand more. Not only did this doctor falsify medical records, he failed to diagnose and treat countless patients. He falsified records showing false diagnoses and treatments. It is extremely unlikely that many patients didn't die because of these actions.

This is how the law looks at this, when it applies to doctors:

"The requisite mental state necessary for a conviction for violating public health laws requires a showing of more than simple negligence in the exercise of a clinical medical judgment, but rather requires proof of a "willful" failure to provide timely, consistent, safe, adequate, and appropriate treatment and/or care." The People v Einaugler. 618 NYS2d 414 (NY App 1994)

"Second-degree murder based on applied malice is committed when the defendant does not intend to kill but engages in conduct that endangers the life of another and acts deliberately with conscious disregard for life. An essential distinction between second-degree murder based on applied malice and involuntary manslaughter based on criminal negligence is that in the former, the defendant subjectively realized the risk to human life created by his conduct, whereas in the latter the defendant's conduct objectively endangered life, but he did not subjectively realize the risk. [In any event], the defendant [must be found] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." The People v Klvana. 15 Cal Rptr2d 512 (Cal App 1992)

In California, such a crime is called a "depraved heart murder." I quote an article from the Health Law and Policy Institute:

"The California criminal statutes provide for malice to be implied by circumstances that show "an abandoned and malignant heart" (California Penal Code ยง 188). Commentators have remarked that in order to constitute implied malice, the conduct must demonstrate exposure of the victim to a very high degree of risk, interpreted as more than unreasonable risk and more than simply high risk.

The Model Penal Code approach allows designation of reckless conduct as murder only if the act in question was done "under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Typical circumstances in which prosecution for depraved heart murder is successful include: shooting a firearm into a dwelling or moving automobile and driving a motor vehicle through crowded streets at high speed. Other circumstances viewed as likely to qualify for this type of prosecution include dropping heavy objects from tall buildings and piloting a speedboat through a group of swimmers.

Looking at the VA report and the number of people involved before, during and after, the potential for, literally, hundreds of criminal charges exists.

Based on recent applications of law, the majority of prosecutions of doctors have been related to abortions. Our question is simple: Will the legal community afford the same protections to veterans as it would a fetus?

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Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He specializes in political and social issues. You can see a large collection of Gordon's published articles at this link: VeteransToday.com.

He is an outspoken advocate for veterans and his powerful words have brought about change. Gordon is a lifelong PTSD sufferer from his war experiences and he is empathetic to the plight of today's veterans also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to feature Gordon's timely and critical reports on Salem-News.com, a news organization staffed by a number of veterans, particularly former U.S. Marines.

You can send Gordon Duff an email at this address: Gpduf@aol.com




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