There are over 21.8 million armed forces veterans in the United States, and each of them seeks help from VA Hospitals that are spread out across America. It is at these hospitals that men and women who fought for their country go for help and treatment.
A VA Hospital in Togus, Maine has received complaints from some of their patients concerning cases of verbal abuse and rights violations.
One such case is that of David Slagger, who is a disabled veteran for the United States, that suffers from a brain injury as well as PTSD. He had gone to the VA Hospital in Bangor, Maine with feelings of helplessness. He was quickly transferred to the Emergency department of the St. Joseph Hospital where he had to wait eight hours before anyone came to see him, and even then it was only to have him transferred to the Togus VA Hospital.
VA Hospitals – How they REALLY treat their patients?
For a man that was only trying to seek help with his mental health, he was passed around a lot. Once in Togus, he was forced to wait more, in fact, a total of 13 hours had passed since he first sought help and nothing had been done for him. The main issue wasn’t that he was forced to wait so long without even having food brought to him, but the actions of the staff at Togus.
When a staff member came into his room Slagger was tired and agitated so when he was asked to change into pyjama’s he refused, especially since he was already wearing some from the other hospital, and the worker left. Another staff member came in shortly after, this time, it was a large burly man that got into Slagger’s face and yelled at him, spraying him with saliva.
Slagger ended up being blue papered, which is an involuntary commitment to the psychiatric ward because the staff feared that Slagger might harm himself. Slagger filed complaints, but the case was closed. The VA police investigator said that the video of the exchanged showed no abuse. Slagger tried to get his hands on the videotape through the freedom of information act but was denied. No matter what Slagger did there was no response and no apology that came from Togus VA Hospital, not until News Center started their investigation anyway. After that, he received a private message on Facebook from the staff member as well as a letter from the hospital.
Another case is that of Heather Fitzpatrick who had gone to the hospital in Houlton for a toothache and ended up being admitted to the psychiatric ward at Togus VA Hospital. Fitzpatrick’s records say that she was admitted because the staff had been concerned for her safety.
Her stay in the psychiatric ward lasted five days and her toothache wasn’t seen to until four days into that stay. When she filed her complaint she was told she could have left at any time, but her medical records show that she had been kept in a locked ward, which would have made leaving very difficult.
For places designed to take care of the physical and mental health of veterans, it doesn’t really seem like they are doing a very good job of it.