Case continues against VA contractor Bobby Dodd Institute in tragic death of Navy veteran Gary Steven Pressley

DUBLIN, GA (November 22, 2021) –The estate of a Navy veteran, who died by suicide after he was denied medical treatment at a Department of Veteran’s Affairs medical center, recently negotiated a $1 million settlement with the U.S. government as compensation for the 35 days of pain and suffering the veteran experienced before his death. The lawsuit, filed by the Bertling Law Group on behalf of the estate of Gary Steven Pressley, continues against Bobby Dodd Institute, an independent contractor responsible for operating the switchboard at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center. The lawsuit alleges that Pressley’s family notified an employee of Bobby Dodd Institute that Pressley was in the parking lot with a loaded gun and intended to shoot himself. The lawsuit states that employee Elaine Carswell did not call the onsite VA police who could have reached Pressley in minutes with officers trained to deescalate such situations. Pressley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the parking lot of the VA Medical Center.

According to the lawsuit, Pressley’s referral to a pain specialist was never scheduled and he experienced excruciating pain after being denied pain medication previously prescribed by a community pain specialist.  Pressley took his own life after his VA primary care physician negligently reduced his pain medication and failed to ensure he saw a new community pain management specialist in a timely fashion.  Pressley’s referral to the pain specialist was never scheduled because the VA employee responsible for processing the appointment was overworked, overwhelmed and her department was understaffed.

Pressley was honorably discharged from the United States Navy with an exemplary record following a tragic car accident that left him with serious injuries to his legs, hip, pelvis, and back. He required assistance to walk and managed considerable pain daily. He had previously been seen by a community pain specialist who was referred through the VA and his life had improved considerably. The community pain specialist stopped treating veterans because the VA was not paying for her services.  Pressley was furthering his education and making plans to lead a long and healthy life when the VA failed to assign him a new pain specialist. His condition deteriorated because he did not receive needed prescription pain medicine for several weeks. He reached a breaking point on April 5, 2019 and shot himself in the chest.

According to attorney Peter Bertling, Pressley’s death was imminently preventable.

“Gary Steven Pressley served his country admirably and had been on a path to lead a long and happy life before the negligence of the Bobby Dodd Institute brought his life to a tragic close,” said Bertling. “Had Ms. Carswell paid attention to the family’s direct warnings, Pressley would still be here today.”

Bertling Law Group can help you access all available resources for compensation. Prior to providing veteran advocacy, our attorneys spent three decades defending hospitals, nurses, and doctors accused of wrongdoing, helping to spare insurance companies millions of dollars in unsubstantiated damages. We now use that insight to help injured patients recover the damages to which they are entitled. More information is available at 844-295-7558 or

Download a copy of the complaint here and at


Source: Bertling Law Group

Contact:  John P. David, 888-859-6637,