By Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY, WASHINGTON — In 2003, a veteran who had served in the Vietnam War entered a Veterans Affairs live-in treatment facility after trying several times to kill himself — including by stabbing himself in the stomach.
In 2008, he briefly saw an emergency room psychiatrist because of his “crying and disruptive behavior,” but according to VA records, that was the only time he saw a psychiatrist from the day he entered the facility until 2011, according to a report from January.
Newly released documents detail this case out of Brockton, Mass., as well as other startling findings by VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector that had been hinted at in an Office of the Special Counsel Report last month. The documents came to light after Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, wrote to VA acting Secretary Sloan Gibson and requested them.
“In reality, the deaths of dozens of veterans across the country have been linked to delays in VA care and other serious department health care problems,” Miller told USA TODAY, “but in the fantasy land inhabited by VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector, serious patient-safety issues apparently have no impact on patient safety.”
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