Our client owned and operated a lobster fishing boat in Key West, Florida. After developing severe pain in his back, which was accompanied by fever, he went to see his primary care doctor at the VA clinic in Key West. After 2 visits with no improvement he was referred to a local hospital emergency department. He was given pain- killers and told to return to the VA clinic. The following day he collapsed and was flown to the VA hospital in Miami where a cat scan revealed a large spinal infection. The infection had eroded several vertebrae and required multi-level spinal fusion. We brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claim Act against the VA and a claim against the local Key West hospital for failure to diagnose the spinal infection. The recovery enabled our client to undergo intensive rehabilitation. He ultimately regained the ability to walk and perform most normal activities of daily living.