A 76-year-old military veteran killed himself outside a Long Island Veteran Affairs facility Sunday after being denied treatment. He was reportedly seeking help for mental health issues at the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center but was turned away, an unfortunately common experience plaguing veterans seeking healthcare in recent years.
According to the New York Times, two people connected to the hospital spoke about the incident on the condition of anonymity. They explained “he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health,” the Times reported.
“He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one anonymous source said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
Peter A. Kaisen of Islip, New York, committed suicide in the parking lot of the Northport facility, where he had been a patient. He was in the parking lot outside Building 92, the facility’s nursing home, when he shot himself.
One of the Times’ anonymous sources questioned why Kaisen had not been referred to Building 64, the mental health center at Northport.
“The staff member said that while there was normally no psychologist at the ready in the E.R., one was always on call, and that the mental health building was open ‘24/7,’” the Times reported.
“Someone dropped the ball. They should not have turned him away,” the source said.
Christopher Goodman, a spokesman for the hospital, said there “was no indication that he presented to the E.R. prior to the incident,” and the Times was unable to determine whether there was an official record of his visit to the VA on Sunday.
The Northport center has faced heightened scrutiny since the Times reported on mismanagement at the facility in 2014, but the problems at Northport are problems of the entire system.
Just last month, an Iowa military veteran …