Last week Peter A. Kaisen, 76, a Navy veteran shot and killed himself in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center. According to his friends, he was recently denied help.
He went there for help with depression,” said Thomas Farley, a friend of Kaisen’s for 40 years. “That was his last hope, and he didn’t get any help.”
“Maybe he can be used as an example to make things better,” said Farley, who spoke on behalf of the family. “Maybe we can save someone else’s life.”
“That way, he would not have died in vain,” he said. – Fox News
The New York Times quoted two separate sources that feel like the VA dropped the ball with Mr. Kaiser.
Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his death said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health. “He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
The worker questioned why Mr. Kaisen had not been referred to the hospital’s Building 64, its mental health center. The staff member said that while there was normally no psychologist at the ready in the E.R., one was always on call, and that the mental health building was open “24/7.”
“Someone dropped the ball,” the worker said. “They should not have turned him away.”- New York Times
Kaiser’s death is tragic but what makes it even worse is that it probably didn’t even fall on the VA’s radar. He may just be one of the 1700 veterans that died waiting for VA care.