DOJ To Delay $2.5 Million Given To Vet Dying From Cancer After Poor VA Care

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The Department of Justice intends to file a notice of intent to appeal a judgment of $2.5 million awarded to veteran Steve Cooper, who now has incurable cancer after the Phoenix VA totally botched his diagnosis.

Following U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle Burns’s decision to award the amount to Cooper on March 6, the Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Harwood told Cooper’s lawyers over the weekend that the department intends to file a notice of intent to appeal before the filing deadline this Wednesday, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. DOJ lawyers will file the notice because they have not yet heard back from the Solicitor General on whether to actually appeal the case.

The notice of intent to appeal, while not actually an appeal in and of itself, further pushes back the case and the award given to Cooper in response to the Phoenix VA’s delays and misdiagnosis, which led to his terminal and incurable stage 4 prostate cancer.

“My immediate reaction was just disgust and I’m even more concerned because it’s just one more layer that makes it less likely that future veterans will bring a case when they’re harmed by the VA,” Cooper told TheDCNF.

“It’s another tactic to delay payment,” Cooper said.

A nurse at the Phoenix VA discovered in 2011 that Cooper’s prostate was enlarged, but decided not to send him to a urologist for further investigation. About 11 months after the first initial visit, Cooper learned he had incurable, terminal prostate cancer, though government lawyers protested and said that the nurse did not turn up any signs of cancer in the first initial appointment. Best estimates state that Cooper, who is now 46, has around five years left to live.

Cooper served in the Army for 18 years before retiring in 2007.

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