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Veteran Kills Himself in VA Hospital Parking Lot

Image: Veteran Kills Himself in VA Hospital Parking Lot

Iraq war veteran couple Colleen Ryan and Jeff Hensley set up 1,892 American flags on the National Mall in Washington, DC in honor of the veterans who committed suicide. (Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 08:38 PM

The suicide of a 76-year-old military veteran is raising questions about whether he killed himself after being denied care at a Veterans Administration hospital.

The New York Times reports that Peter A. Kaisen shot himself outside the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island on Sunday.

No official reason has been given for Kaisen's suicide, but the Times quoted two people connected to the hospital speaking anonymously who said he was frustrated over not being given treatment at the emergency room for his mental health issues.

"He went to the E.R. and was denied service," quoted one of its sources, identified as a current hospital employee. "And then he went to his car and shot himself."

Though no mental health worker is on duty at all times at the E.R., Kaisen could have been referred to a neighboring building where such help is available at all times, the employee said.

"Someone dropped the ball," the employee told the Times. "They should not have turned him away."

Hospital spokesman Christopher Goodman told the paper that there "was no indication that he presented to the E.R. prior to the incident" and that "the employees here at Northport feel this loss deeply and extend their thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by this tragedy."

The Veterans Administration has been under fire for long wait times for veterans' medical care, but critics say little has been done to correct the problem even after congressional hearings and changes in leadership.

"He went there for help with depression," Kaisen's friend and the family's spokesman Thomas Farley told Fox News. "That was his last hope, and he didn't get any help."

"Maybe he can be used as an example to make things better," Farley said. "Maybe we can save someone else’s life. That way, he would not have died in vain."


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The suicide of a 76-year-old military veteran is raising questions about whether he killed himself after being denied care at a Veterans Administration hospital.
veteran, suicide, va, veterans administration, new york
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2016-38-25
Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 08:38 PM
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