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Vet's Widow Sues VA

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A local woman claims her vet husband died as the result of brutality at the hands of VA Police in Loma Linda.

Norma Montano makes the claim in lawsuit filed Friday against the federal government. Jonathan Montano died in 2011, two-and-a-half weeks after suffering a stroke at the facility. According to the family's lawsuit, the vet was at the facility for dialysis and had already been prepped with a shunt in his arm. His wife says he grew frustrated after waiting four hours for the procedure to begin and decided to leave Loma Linda and try to get it done at the Long Beach VA. His family says he did not want to let the hospital remove the shunt. The hospital insisted that the shunt be removed, believing it was too dangerous to travel with it in his arm. According to the court document, the hospital called in the VA Police to deal with Montano when he failed to let the staff remove the shunt.

This is where the VA's and the family's accounts differ.

 The family claims that the police brutalized Montano, beat him and stomped on his carotid artery, giving him a stroke that killed him, and then lied to his wife about it. The hospital said Montano was beligerent and police attempted to restrain him for his safety and the safety of staff and patients. The hospital said the vet fell and hit his head. According to the widow, a staff member later informed her that her husband had been slammed to the floor by the officers.

The incident was investigated by the VA which, in December 2013, said there was "no evidence of negligence or wrongful act or omission by VA employees that resulted in injury to, or the death of, the veteran patient in June 2011.  Although a terrible and unfortunate incident occurred, VA personnel acted and responded appropriately."

The family was not satisfied with that ruling and filed the lawsuit in federal court on Friday.
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