MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The federal government has agreed to pay $1 million to the children of an Army veteran who froze to death after he was discharged from a Veterans Affairs hospital in Wisconsin.
The family of Vance Perry filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government in December. Perry's five children said the hospital in Madison was aware of their father's mental condition, which put him at risk of wandering away, and that staff knew he could not return to his residence on his own.
The family's attorney, Terrence Polich, said someone at Memorial Veterans Hospital failed to make sure Perry got in a cab that had been called for him.
The 57-year-old father was found dead on New Year's Eve 2018 in a downtown parking garage a day after he left the hospital. The temperature had dipped to 6 below zero Fahrenheit (21.1 below zero Celsius) the night before, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The settlement agreement does not include an admission of guilt or liability by the federal government, Polich said.
“I’m pleased with how seriously the government took this case,” Polich said. “Both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the VA.”
Perry had served in the U.S. Army from 1978 to 1984, when he was honorably discharged, according to the lawsuit.