Crime & Courts

Columbia’s Dorn VA hospital says it will win case of alleged bungled urine sample

Dorn Veterans Hospital in Garners Ferry Road
Dorn Veterans Hospital in Garners Ferry Road

When all the facts are known about a patient’s allegation that Columbia’s Dorn Veterans Administration Hospital bungled a urine sample, the hospital will be found to have acted properly, Dorn’s medical director says.

“We have reviewed this in detail,” said medical director David Omura. “I am 100 percent confident that there is no wrong-doing in this case from Dorn’s perspective.”

While patient privacy laws prevent him from discussing the case, Omura said Dorn’s staff has gone over its records and is convinced the hospital will win if the case goes to trial.

The State reported last week that U.S. Navy veteran Eric Walker, 47, has filed suit in U.S. District Court alleging he was wrongly diagnosed as a cocaine addict and sent home — based on a preliminary urine sample — when he went to Dorn’s emergency room in 2015 for severe abdominal pains.

After several days, Walker – still suffering pains – went to Lexington Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with diseases of the gall bladder and pancreas, his lawsuit said. He was rushed to surgery there, his lawyer said.

Dorn did not respond to The State’s requests for comment last week.

Omura said he is speaking out now because he wants to reassure veterans who have seen news coverage of the case that Dorn is a quality hospital and its side of the story has not been heard.

“If you are truly in a crisis, we are going to take care of you,” Omura said. “Our goal is to make sure that each and every veteran receives the best care possible.”

Dorn, a major center for veterans’ care in the Midlands, gets more than 30,000 visits a year to its emergency department.

Omura said patient safety is a high priority at Dorn. Numerous safety procedures are in place, including a policy that empowers all employees to stop processes if they see anything that’s unsafe, he said.

Walker’s attorney, Todd Lyle, said he only filed the suit after not hearing from the VA about a claim that Walker made last February.

“We look forward to telling Mr. Walker’s story in court,” Lyle said.