Maybe it’s just me, but suicide hotlines shouldn’t have VOICEMAIL!
I’m thinking that anybody suicidal is NOT going to leave a message and wait for a call-back.
Nevertheless, an Illinois veteran in distress called the Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide hotline in July 2015, and no one picked up. The veteran would later lie down on railroad tracks to be hit by a train.
The train came, as the body of 30-year old Thomas Young was found July 23, 2015 by a Metra train outside of Chicago. The irony is the next day, Young’s phone rang and it was indeed somebody from the VA returning his call.
What irritates me most is that though the Veterans Administration is under the most scrutiny in decades, Obama has done absolutely nothing to change things.
In July of 2015 Obama said this:
“The VA is handling millions more appointments, inside and outside the VA, and delivering more care…On average, veterans are waiting just a few days for an appointment. And that’s all good news.”
Just a “few days.” Why should a veteran have to wait even ONE day, particularly one who is suicidal? What a difference a day makes, huh Barack?
Back in 2014, Obama through more money at the issue. He signed a measure that gave $16 billion more to the VA. Problem solved, right?
As CNN reported,
Sally Barnes-Breen watched her father die while waiting months just to see a doctor at the dysfunctional Department of Veterans Affairs.
Now she says a bill signed into law on Thursday by President Barack Obama doesn’t hold accountable those responsible for what happened.
“They broke all the medical codes, when you swear on your oath,” she told CNN of the inability of her father, Navy veteran Thomas Breen, to get an appointment.
“Billions of dollars can’t fix the VA broken system,” she continued. “What’s going to fix (this) is if you criminalize people when they do wrong.”
More money, but no more accountability; the hallmark of a Leftist government.
As for Young, he had returned from his second tour of Iraq in 2004 with severe PTSD. He tried to go to the Hines VA hospital in Illinois for help with a drinking problem, however he was turned him away. The hospital apparently didn’t have the space for him, since ironically he wasn’t suicidal. Yet.
He had previously tried to kill himself by passing out on train tracks, but someone always carried him off the tracks before he was hit. He tried to go back to Hines, but was put on a wait list.
The incident was revealed in a hearing Thursday by Sen. Mark Kirk, chairman of the subcommittee on VA appropriations.
The government-run healthcare provider had been alerted to problems with its suicide hotline four months prior to Young’s death, but didn’t fix the issues. In February 2015, Scripps News Service published video of one vet waiting on hold for more than half an hour, while another told the service that when she called crying and huddled underneath a desk, callous workers merely transferred her repeatedly. Someone eventually said she’d get a message back, but no one ever called. She got in her car to drive off a bridge, but changed her mind.
Scripps asked for records on call center statistics, but the VA wouldn’t provide them. The VA said around that time that it was making changes.