VA hospital’s urine sample mix-up led to cocaine addict diagnosis, vet says

A U.S. Navy veteran is suing the VA hospital that he said misdiagnosed his stomach pains as cocaine addiction and discharged him without treatment.

Eric Walker, 47, filed a lawsuit against Dorn Veterans Hospital in Columbia, S.C., alleging that the hospital switched his urine sample with another patient’s in May 2015. Walker claimed that the move lead to his misdiagnosis as a cocaine addict, The State reported.

Dorn’s staff had told him “his stomach pains were a direct result of ingesting multiple illegal drugs, in particular, excessive cocaine,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said he was offered pamphlets on treating substance abuse and sent home.

Walker’s condition worsened, and days later a neighbor brought him to Lexington Medical Center where he was properly diagnosed and “rushed to emergency surgery for gall stones and disease of the gall bladder and pancreas,” his attorney Todd Lyle told The State.

He is recovered and now seeks unspecified damages for his medical bills and for pain and suffering.

Walker joined the Navy in 1989 and served four years, including a six-month tour in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield in the first Iraq War, The State reported.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia likely will represent Dorn and the Veterans Administration. It declined comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.