August 26, 2016

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.

For the full story, click here.

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  • Patrick Titterington

    05/02/2017 05:03 PM

    As a veteran with many health issues, most of which include pain, I can certainly understand his choice of location. I would definitely bet that this was the result of longtime neglect and abuse delivered by the VA. I am writing this one day post op of a total knee replacement. This is my first orthopedic operation NOT done by the VA and am so pleased being in less pain in my knee than the majority of the past 38 years post injury. After all, vets are just a bunch of drug seeking but cases, right? Thank God I am now on Medicare so I can seek quality health care now. Too add insult to injury, here is a little known fact for many; my 70% disability (which adds up individually to110% but is weighted down to 70%), comes out of my Air Force retirement check. This means if I hadn't retired I would only be making 30% less. If I were 100% disabled, I would receive my full retirement as well as my disability. Just another example of the inequalities veterans experience every day.