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New Mexico settles wrongful death suit over veteran's death


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A wrongful death lawsuit filed against the New Mexico Department of Health after a Vietnam War veteran contracted COVID-19 at a veterans’ home has been settled for $300,000. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that 75-year-old Rickey Lee Widener of Ruidoso died at the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home in Truth or Consequences on Dec. 3, 2020. A lawsuit filed on behalf of Widener’s widow alleged medical negligence. News of the settlement comes after state lawmakers last week received a new evaluation of state-operated hospitals for veterans, the mentally ill and the elderly describing inadequate oversight that threatens the ability to provide quality care, including harmful conditions at a care facility for military veterans in Truth or Consequences.