Last week, we told you about the VA’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by the family of a 24-year-old Marine that committed suicide after returning from Iraq. Details are now emerging which paint a tragic picture of what happened to this young Marine who repeatedly sought help from the VA hospital in his hometown.
According to a press release from his attorneys, Randen Harvey had gone to the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center multiple times for treatment and psychiatrists failed to recognize that the Marine was a suicide risk case. Harvey suffered from PTSD, panic disorder with agoraphobia and polysubstance abuse, and self-referred to the VA after he repeatedly suffered panic attacks in the workplace. Harvey was participating in a High Intensity Outpatient Treatment program in June of 2006, when he went to the ER at the VA because he had plans to commit suicide by jumping off a roof. The young man was then left unattended and later found on the roof at the VA hospital by security guards.
Instead of attending to the veteran who was obviously suffering from severe mental problems, he was discharged from the HIOT for consuming alcohol against the programs stated rules.
Although some medical professionals at the VA reportedly recognized Harvey’s call for help, he was released from their care even after a psychiatrist determined that he was in need of an inpatient program. He committed suicide by overdose just a few days later.
Will the tragic loss of this war veteran and the $218,500 settlement be enough to convince the VA that sanctions and a possible revision of their policies are necessary? Let’s hope so.
If you are a veteran suffering from emotional problems, you are not alone, and do not have to live in a world of despair. Please seek help from family or a medical professional.
If your problems are debilitating like Lance Corporal Harvey’s and you find it difficult to work, you may be entitled to compensation from the government. Contact a qualified veterans lawyer or a disability attorney in your area.