'It's what killed him,' Son blames VA hospital's negligence for father's death

Son says medication error led to dad's death

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Three weeks after a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the Kansas City VA Medical Center, the man who filed it is speaking out.

Craig Beemer said his father, John Beemer, 84, died after a series of medication errors while being treated at VAMC.

It all began last year in April, as Craig Beemer and his dad were gearing up for a trip to Mexico.

Craig Beemer said his dad started to feel slightly ill so he drove him to VAMC, where his dad was diagnosed with pneumonia. 

"He [the doctor] said 'it's not enough to keep you here,'" said Craig Beemer.

According to Craig Beemer, the doctor asked if his dad had any allergies to any medications. 

"He said, 'I'm allergic to this antibiotic', and the doctor looked at it and said 'ok,'" Craig Beemer said.

John Beemer was given an antibiotic at the hospital through an IV and sent home, according to Craig Beemer.

The next day, Craig Beemer said he went to his dad's house to check on him.

"He's bright red," Craig Beemer said. "It looked like he had sat on the beach for a week."

The father and son returned back to the hospital. 

Craig Beemer said doctors told his dad he was having an allergic reaction to medication and admitted John Beemer to the ICU.

Craig Beemer said the allergic reaction was caused by the one antibiotic his father told doctors he couldn't have — Ceftriaxone. 

However, Craig Beemer said his dad was given two more doses of the antibiotic before anyone realized what happened.

"It burned him from the inside," Craig Beemer said. "It's like they put him in a microwave.

Pictures show John Beemer had sores on the inside and outside of his mouth. Craig Beemer said his dad needed oxygen and couldn't get out of bed.

Pictures show John Beemer had sores on the inside and outside of his mouth. A lawsuit filed by his son claims they were caused by an allergic reaction to a drug.


John Beemer died within a month.

"It's what killed him," Craig Beemer said.

Craig Beemer filed a lawsuit against Kansas City VA Medical Center that states, "Despite the fact that Mr. Beemer had been diagnosed with a 'drug rash' and despite the new symptoms of redness of his skin over much of his body, the caregivers at VAMC continued to administer Ceftriaxone from April 8, 2016 to April 9, 2016."

According to the suit, Ceftriaxone was listed in John Beemer's medical record as a medication he was allergic to. 

The suit reads, "At no time did any of his caregivers review his medical records to see that Mr. Beemer was allergic to Ceftriaxone."

Craig Beemer said, despite his father's rapidly declining health and despite evidence of an allergy, doctors continued to treat his father for pneumonia. 

41 Action News Investigators reached out to VAMC about the lawsuit. Dwayne Rider, spokesperson for the hospital, said they can't comment on a pending lawsuit. 

Looking back, Craig Beemer said he wished he'd realized his father was having an allergic reaction to the medication the staff was giving his father.

"I knew something was wrong but you would never think if you say you're allergic to something that they'll give it to you," Craig Beemer said. "We trusted the doctors-you kind of have a feeling they know what they're doing."

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