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SKKY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 04:49 PM
Original message
VA Hospital turns away suicidal Vet who later hangs himself (CNN)...
Edited on Wed Mar-14-07 04:50 PM by ALiberalSailor
More blood on their hands as far as I'm concerned. This is so very tragic.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
VA hospital turned away suicidal vet, family says
Although he earned two purple hearts for fighting in Iraq, Marine Jonathan Schulze was rejected by a Minnesota VA hospital when he needed urgent treatment.

Schulze was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by his family physician. He was prescribed Ambien, Valium, and Paxil, but they didn't help. When Schulze began to feel suicidal, he turned to the VA hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota, about an hour outside Minneapolis.

His father and stepmother both insist they heard Schulze tell the intake nurse he was "suicidal." But instead of admitting him, the hospital told Schulze to go home and call back the next day.

The family says it was told the social worker who screens PTSD patients was too busy to see him. When Schulze called back the next day, his stepmom says she listened as he told the social worker he felt suicidal. The hospital then responded by telling him he was Number 26 on the waiting list for one of 12 PTSD patient beds. In other words, he'd need to wait at least two weeks before he could get treatment.

Is that any way to respond to a Iraqi Veteran who is telling you he's suicidal? And why, with the U.S. fighting two wars in the Middle East, are there only 12 beds reserved at this hospital for PTSD patients? The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects one in five veterans will need to be treated for PTSD.

Four days after his visit to the VA hospital, Jonathan Schulze put a household electric cord around his neck and hanged himself in the basement of a friend's home. A picture of his one-year-old daughter was at his side.

"If our men are going to serve for our country and serve in a war and a conflict then when they come home, they should be taken care of. They were promised when they were in, when they signed on the piece of paper, and they come home, and they have a problem, and what are they told, you're number 26?" his stepmom, Marianne Schulze, told me through her tears.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating why Schulze wasn't admitted immediately. It wouldn't comment on the case. Neither would the hospital.

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blo... /

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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. And how many of these are never reported to the public? How sad. When * meets his maker, he's in
for a big surprise:

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. Poor baby! They had a
show like this on the last "Las Vegas" where an Iraqi Vet was suicidal and said he wasn't going back for his third tour. Said, "You don't know what it's like to see boby parts all over the place and your buddies getting blown up."

The last we saw him in the finale ..he had a bomb strapped to his chest and we weren't sure if he was planning on taking anyone with him or not.

This was on a popular tv show last week!

I feel this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg for Iraqi Vets.
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Iwasthere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. Anybody have Andy Rooneys email address
Someone send this to him!
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SKKY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
21. I agree. We need to move this stuff off of DU, and onto much bigger forums...
...Like 60 Minutes, Dateline, etc.
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youngdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. criminal negligence by the nurse if he said 'suicidal'
Hope they investigate.

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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. True, but if she's been left no choice...
If there are no resources and the nurse was ordered to turn people away then the blame belongs higher up the chain of command. :(

Someone should definitely face an dismissal over this.
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MaineDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. Another one?
I remember hearing about a similar case weeks ago.

It's very sad.
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benddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. same one
same name same hospital same story...isn't really breaking news.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
7. He died for a few right-wingers' "right" to profit off this war. (nt)
Edited on Wed Mar-14-07 05:12 PM by w4rma
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. Halliburton Stockholders will say a prayer of thanks for increased profits
NOT
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RedG1 Donating Member (389 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:33 PM
Response to Original message
8. VA = Veterans Abandoned
how sad
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
9. the truth is and always has been that a psychiatric patient
can be put in any bed anywhere in a hospital and have aides watch him round the clock. This is gross neglience to deny him admission and use the "special bed" excuse. You can even set up a bed in a hospital hallway. Of course, they could have had him admitted to a private hospital also.....unnecessary, tragic death.
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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I just clutched when I read your comment that they could admit him to a private
hospital. I completely agree that the VA should do that in situations like this - but I am now wondering whether neglecting the entire VA system has been done to have an excuse to privatize services, and, of course, we've seen what happened when care at Walter Reed was privatized.

:(
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Sorry that is NOT the case, Neuro-Psychiatric Units have special requirements.
For example, no one can go in or out of the ward without permission (The doors are kept locked). I have had to see a Client in a Neuro-Psychiatric units (Often just called NP units) once. It was fun, all the windows locked, the door locks behind you as you enter and you have ot be "Buzzed" to be left out. Specially trained nurses were at hand to watch the patients and to see how they react to any medication they are given.

Another problem is most NP units are Rarely in private hospitals, NP units tend to be filled with people with low or no income and furthermore care takes weeks not the days (or even hours) most hospitals want their patients to stay. Thus most NP wards are in Public Hospitals and are generally filled. To relieve the population many NP patients are released to care with the local Mental Health and Mental Retardation unit (MH/MR). MH/MR run programs for people with mental illness, these may be weekly or even daily. These can include medication checks in addition to counseling (Both individual and group). Many patients are in the "Partial Hospitalization program" (Or PHP for Short). The PHP has the patients go through various "Classes" to handle different aspects of their mental illness (For example taking ot people, cleaning homes classes, dealing with one's frustration, Dealing with people, etc). The PHP generally operates five days a week and the patients take anywhere from 3-6 classes (Depending on how much they can do. MH/MR programs are run by your local county.

Private mental Hospitals do exists, but they are rare and want to be paid up front. They charge way more than any cost incurred by MH/MR, your local NP ward or the even the VA, but unless you have the medical insurance to pay for their care forget it. Even many of these private Hospitals are paid mostly by the state in the case of referrals to them and then limited to six weeks (mostly in the case of Drug Rehabilitation).

My point is I doubt they was ANY PLACE TO PUT HIM and given his situation they could NOT put him anywhere BUT the NP ward. It is easy to say the VA could have put him in a private hospital, but real problem is does such a hospital exists AND would they take the Patient WITHOUT medical Insurance? I doubt it.

The problem is Congress should have advocated MORE money to the VA AND the Military hospitals soon after this war started so that the VA could ramp up it program to receive these Vets. The problem is most WWII era vets are dieing off (or are dead), these were the MAIN users of the VA hospitals even after Vietnam. The GOP controlled Congress since 1994 has refused to increase funding for the VA hospitals since the demand for services was expected (And did till the last few years) to decline do to the WWII vets dieing off. After the start of the War in Iraq Congress did NOT reverse that policy and now four years into the war the VA and Military hospitals are NOT set up to take care of an increasing Vet load.

This problem is further complicated by the fact that many Vietnam Era Vets are having recurrence of PTSS from their years in Vietnam do to seeing what is occurring in Iraq. Thus the NP units are just overwhelmed and till this yeas (with the Democrats in Charge) Congress was unwilling to increase funding for the VA (unlike the years of Vietnam when funding was increased during the 1960s and 1970s. Now in the 1970s a bureaucratic fight occurred between the Vietnam Era vets who wanted treatment of PTSS and the WWII vets who wanted better care for the problems of aging, but it was a fight about how much money to spent on each NOT a fight for funding period.

Thus the problem is Funding and the lack of funding since the start of the War in Iraq and that lack of planning is the fault of Bush and his Republican Congress.
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
23. I have been a psychiatrist for over 30 years and can assure that
Edited on Thu Mar-15-07 08:02 AM by Mend
is exactly what we do: if there are no beds, if the patient has tried suicide and has medical complications, if the patient is hooked up to an i.v. (we don't allow tubing on our psych. unit...hanging issues), if the patient is under 18 years of age. The patient goes to a medical bed with round-the-clock aides sitting by the bedside until a space opens. I did some training during the Viet Nam era at VA hospitals and we were not permitted to turn away anyone with a service-connected disability. BTW, the places they rotated us through were so clean you could eat off the floors.
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VegasWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:09 PM
Response to Original message
11. Bush is a murderer! Not planning for or having money to support returning casulties is
flat out cold blooded murder.
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JanusAscending Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. Maybe this is just the reason,
he wants to keep them OVER THERE so long. Better than having the embarrassment of not being prepared for their return home to a vacuum! :sarcasm: I would hate to be in shrubs shoes when he has to wiggle out of this one when he meets his Maker!!! Satan is the only thing keeping this idiot in power! Lord, keep your children in your hand. :cry:
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magellan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
12. This is the same way HMOs treat suicidal folks
Talk to you a few minutes, maybe hand you some pills, and tell you they will get back to you in two weeks. If you are truly suicidal that is more than enough time and frustration to check out of life, and I am sure it happens more often than we think.

:cry:
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VegasWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Yep, when Capitalism meets Medicine human beings are of no cosequence! I will never belong to an HMO
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MethuenProgressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
15. Did we hear this story before? A month ago or so? Same guy?
I wish I had a better memory.
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Sacajawea Donating Member (797 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Yes, we did. But it's still an appalling tragedy.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-14-07 08:17 PM
Response to Original message
18. k and r. Outrages like this need to be front page news until the problems are fixed.
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SKKY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 01:59 AM
Response to Original message
22. Kick...
As many people as possible need to read this.
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