In a devastating turn of events, 76-year-old veteran Peter A. Kaisen shot and killed himself outside the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center after the facility allegedly denied him care despite being a frequent patient. The old Navy man served from 1958 to 1962 and had been going to the VA hospital for over two years but received no help for what he complained was “excruciating pain” despite several treatments over the course of his visitations. According to his friend Thomas Farley who told Fox News, it was reported that he had visited the hospital while battling depression, “That was his last hope, and he didn’t get any help.” Farley said Kaisen went to the hospital Monday seeking help for depression and was refused. “He went to the E.R. and was sent home,” Farley said, adding he could not elaborate on what condition his friend had been diagnosed with at the time. His permanent disability was due to an injury he sustained in the 1960s in a car accident while he was on duty as an officer at the Long Beach Police Department. Kaisen became depressed, according to Farley, and had attempted suicide in the past, but the exact actions were not revealed.
According to the New York Times source, it was reported that before Peter A. Kaisen killing himself, he was a disappointed man due to inability to be attended to by the V.A. hospital as he was denied the chance of seeing an emergency room physician for consultation over his mental health status, despite being a regular patient there, a spokesperson told The New York Times that the patient was seen by a physician assistant and then a registered nurse in the emergency room, but because his injury was not related to his service, he was referred back to his primary care doctor. This forced him to go back to his car and shoot himself. However, the hospital denied claims that Kaisen had visited the E.R. before deciding to kill himself. Further investigations revealed that the veteran was diagnosed with “anxiety and depressive disorder” and had been receiving treatment from his primary care provider prior to this incident and at this point, it remains unclear why he had visited the ER that day and what condition he was in when he went there.
However, Kaisen is not the only U.S. servicemen who have lost their lives; there have been reports on many cases where veterans died due to a lack of medical attention at V.A. hospitals since 2008. His family desires that following the turn of events surrounding Kaisen’s death, V.A. will, after that, be able to provide better services to veterans who have post-service mental health issues so as to avoid such tragedy from reoccurring. Kaisen’s loved ones are determined to ensure that there will be lasting changes in the V.A. system to avoid anything of this nature from happening again to veterans and civilians in the future. Over the recent years, V.A. hospitals have been on the spot over a number of issues such as treatment delays, multiple deaths of veterans whose treatment was delayed, ejected medical claims, and fraudulent bookkeeping to cover up wait times and deaths in order for executives to qualify for bonuses. Kaisen’s death has once again brought to the forefront, the suicide rate among veterans. The suicide rate for veterans is nearly thirty percent higher than civilian adults.