No one can know the thoughts that careen through the mind of someone desperate enough to commit suicide.
That said, we know plenty about the VA that could intensify the desperation of a frustrated veteran in need of care. And we share some of that frustration when we get different stories in response to the suicide of 79-year-old Peter A. Kaisen in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island. Northport has been under scrutiny for mismanagement and poor care since a critical New York Times expose came out in May.
Talk to the hospital spokesman, and he says there’s “no indication” that this veteran “presented to the ER prior to the incident.” And for what it’s worth --- we are talking about the VA here --- it also wasn’t clear at the time of the initial news report whether or not an official record was made of Mr. Kaisen’s visit.
But talk with others who work at Northport and speak only with anonymity, and they say the veteran was frustrated because “he went to the ER and was turned away. And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
They question why the veteran couldn’t have been sent to “Building 64,” the mental health center, which is open around the clock and where a psychologist is always on call. “Someone dropped the ball,” an employee said.
Because the death occurred on federal property, the FBI will be conducting the investigation. One can easily imagine it then being sent to the Justice Department, where investigations go to die.
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