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Lawsuit alleges veteran beaten to death by VA hospital police

A Veterans Administration medical center
A Veterans Administration medical center
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A lawsuit filed against the United States by Norma Montano alleges that Jonathan Montano, her 65-year-old husband of 44 years, was beaten to death by Veterans Administration hospital guards after he waited hours for dialysis treatment, the Courthouse News Service reported Sunday.

The lawsuit says Montano suffered a stroke and died on June 11, 2011 after his carotid artery was stomped by guards at the hospital. Worse yet, the lawsuit alleges hospital staff lied about what happened.

According to Montano, her husband grew tired of waiting for treatment and decided to go to another VA facility, but was told by nursing staff not to leave.

"Jonathan Montano told the nurse that he was leaving and was going to the VA Hospital in Long Beach, California, [and that] he wanted to leave the needle apparatus [a shunt] in his arm, so they wouldn't have to put a new one in at the Long Beach VA Hospital," the complaint says.

When Montano insisted on leaving, VA staff at the Loma Linda, Calif., facility, called VA police.

"The summoned VA Police Department police officers then stopped Jonathan Montano from leaving the VA Hospital in Loma Linda, by tackling him to the floor, slamming his head on the floor, and kneeing and stomping on his neck, and otherwise brutalizing and restraining him,” the lawsuit adds.

As a result of the brutal treatment he received on May 25, 2011, the lawsuit alleges, Montano developed a clot that ultimately resulted in his death.

“Moreover, the brutalization of Jonathan Montano resulted in him suffering other serious physical injuries, and associated physical, mental and emotional pain, suffering and distress," the complaint says.

During the confrontation, Montano was outside wondering what had happened to her husband. She went inside and was told by a member of the nursing staff that her husband had suffered a stroke. According to the complaint, an emergency room doctor reportedly said "that her husband had fallen down and suffered a stroke, an untrue statement.”

Nursing stall allegedly pulled Montano aside and said her husband did not suffer a fall, "but was slammed to the ground by the VA Police, that Norma Montano was being lied to, and that it wasn't right what the VA Police did to Jonathan Montano.”

Courthouse News said Montano is seeking damages and punitive damages for wrongful death, assault and battery, false imprisonment, constitutional violations, negligence, loss of consortium and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Montano's son, and daughter are also named as plaintiffs.

The lawsuit comes on heels of news that a number of veterans have died as a result of long waits at VA hospitals, although Montano says her husband died as a result of police brutality, Raw Story said.

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