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“They Set Me on Fire”

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Stafford, WVAmerican military vet Steven Anthony was already living a life compromised by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when he was suffered another blow to his already fragile mind at a Veteran’s hospital in Martinsburg, Virginia. Steven became a victim of veteran medical malpractice.

Several months ago, Anthony was admitted for some routine surgery. The plan was to give Anthony a general anesthetic for knee surgery, and while he was in the operating room, remove a lesion on his forehead.

“As I lay on the operating table, my mind was telling me I was getting hot. I woke up to see flames all around me,” says Anthony.
“I reached up and pulled fire from my face.”


The operating room team had been using an electric cauterizing device to control bleeding during the removal of the lesion. It ignited Anthony’s oxygen supply and caused the cotton gauze around his face to catch fire.

“Everyone else backed off and Steven burnt his hands as he tore the burning material from his face,” says his attorney Anthony Williams, who is a former marine and judge advocate, and has represented members of the military on a variety of issues. “He suffered some superficial burns on his face and hands but the real issue aggravated his PTSD.”

Already an individual with significant “social issues” and diagnosed with PTSD long ago after a tour in the military in the mid-80s, the operating room flame event seemed to send Anthony reeling further out of the main stream. A few months after the incident at the VA hospital, Steven Anthony tried to commit suicide and found himself back in the hospital.

The hospital offered Anthony consideration in the amount of $30,000. When he refused that, the hospital offered $40,000. He’s now suing for $1.3 million in Federal District Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

“They are making me sue them for this instead of paying the claim,” Anthony told LAS. “They could give a damn about me having to deal with this on a daily basis and that aggravates me to no end, which in turn causes my PTSD to go off the charts.”

“Who is to say whether it is worth $1.3 million or $3.1 million?,” says his lawyer William Anthony. “Something in his psyche is really scrambled. I don’t think liability is at issue here. The only question is how much is it worth and that will be up to the magistrate,” says Williams.

“He has a serious lack of trust now with the VA. These are his caregivers,” says Williams who served 20 years in the military.

“I don’t want to say anything bad about the VA. There are plenty of people doing that nowadays. I think the VA is taking steps to improve services, especially with the ever-increasing number of service members who are having problems,” says Williams. “But as for this one veteran, their efforts are falling far short.”


Anthony Williams is the founding partner at Anthony Williams and Associates in Stafford, West Virginia, and a graduate of DePaul University College of Law. A former marine, Williams served as a judge advocate with the US Military. With over 20 years of legal experience, Attorney Williams has successfully handled complex civil and criminal matters in state and federal courts. He now practices in the areas of Family Law; Divorce; Child Custody and Support; Criminal Defense, including Court-Martials and Appeals; and Civil Litigation, including Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice.

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READER COMMENTS

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A vet might think that every time thT the vA denies. a claim for PTSD, that the VA literly
Makes it worse. Couldn't they be sued for makeing it worse.

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