WASHINGTON — An Eastern Washington veteran and his wife are suing the federal government and the companies behind a computer system the Department of Veterans Affairs has tested in Spokane, alleging that flaws in the system delayed the diagnosis of cancer that became terminal before it could be treated.
Chewelah resident Charlie Bourg and his wife, Deborah Brinson, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Friday. They are seeking unspecified monetary damages from the government and the companies that have developed the electronic health record system — including Cerner, to which the VA awarded a $10 billion contract in 2018, and Oracle, which acquired Cerner for $28.3 billion in 2022.
Bourg, a vocal critic of the system who went to the U.S. Capitol in December 2022 to ask Congress to scrap it, said he blames the government and the companies that brought the system to Spokane's Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, not the doctors and nurses who use the system to track patient data and coordinate care. Bourg has been told his prostate cancer has spread and is no longer treatable.
“Everybody at the hospital has been good to me, except for the administration,” he said. “They tried to do everything right — whether the urologists, the primary care, the oncologists — and they've all suffered from this program, too, along with the rest of the staff…