The Department of Veterans Affairs has been receiving heaps of criticism over the past several years for their horrible treatment of veterans. And tragically, that substandard treatment has just led to the death of one Navy veteran.
Two VA staffers spoke anonymously about how 76-year-old Peter Kaisen had come to Long Island’s Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Sunday, saying he needed a visit for his mental health. One of the staffers explained that he was turned away, and immediately, Kaisen went outside and killed himself.
“He went to the E.R. and was denied service. And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
The whistle-blowers said that “someone dropped the ball”, and that the hospital should not have turned Kaisen away.
Kaisen served in the Navy from 1958 – 1962 before serving as a police officer with the Long Beach Police Department. While he was a police officer, he suffered severe injuries in a car accident, leaving him dependent on medication for the rest of his life. He was described as a devoted family man who was a NASCAR fan and loved animals.
Friends of his say that he was trying to get help for his depression, but being turned away took away his last hope. Thomas Farley, who had been friends with Kaisen for decades, said that he hopes his death can be an example, and “can save someone else’s life.”
Anyone familiar with the VA hospital scandal might recognize the name of the hospital Kaisen was turned away from. The Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center is the same hospital that faced scrutiny in May, after it was forced to cancel the surgeries of over 100 veterans when the air vents in the operating rooms began spitting out black particles. And while the FBI has launched an investigation into Kaisen’s death, as his suicide took place on federal property, so far they say they have found nothing criminal.
According to the VA, 22 veterans kill themselves each day.