Have big improvements started to happen in the lives of veterans since U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin began running the VA?
Not widely reported in mainstream media are reports that veterans are still dying in VA parking lots from unknown causes and suicide.
An once again, mainstream media is silent.
On Thursday, a man was found dead in his car in the parking lot of the Veterans Affairs building in Memphis, Tenn. Cause of death is unknown.
Another veteran, 63-year-old Paul Shuping, a U.S. Navy veteran who served six years, was found dead in the parking lot by Durham VA police. Reports indicate his body had been there for five days before being discovered. His body was found in a seldom use area of the parking lot.
Shuping’s brother Donald said he received great car at the Durham VA but had emotional issues, depression and PTSD.
Donald says Shuping had just found out that he was denied disability benefits:
“He tried to do things the right way and it just didn’t work.
He had gotten partial benefits, and he found out that Wednesday that he went missing that he would not be getting full benefits because of a paperwork error. Had he been a little patient, we don’t think it would have taken a lot longer to get them but he had been waiting, struggling emotionally and financially for quite some time.
Since Paul’s death I’ve come into contact with a lot of veterans and had no idea how difficult it was for them to get their rightful disability benefits.”
Shuping’s funeral was Saturday.
James Alston who runs the Triangle Veterans Wellness Outreach Center in Durham and knew Shuping, spoke about his own experience with the VA:
“It’s a very difficult process. I’m a living example of it. I retired in 1993 and I started from there on and it took me until 2010 before I was able to get my full disability.”
The Durham VA released the following statement after Shuping’s death:
The Durham VA released a statement saying:
The loss of one Veteran by suicide is one loss too many, and we offer our sincere condolences to the family of this Veteran. We urge any Veteran who is in crisis to reach out for help. Call the Durham VA suicide prevention coordinator at (919) 899-6259 ext. 1026 or contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On February 1, 2017, just prior to Shulkin becoming VA Secretary, another veteran took his life in Phoenix, Ariz. at the Phoenix VA’s Southeast Community based Outpatient Clinic.
Brandon Coleman, a VA whistleblower who still works for the VA described what happened to the elderly veteran in an email:
“Vet went to an appointment at Phoenix VA outpatient clinic located in Gilbert AZ (known as Southeast CBOC) on Feb 1. He came out to his car and shot himself in head.”
Ironically, according to Coleman, a local congress member was attending a suicide prevention class with management at the hospital when the suicide occurred.
How many more veterans’ lives will be lost before the system stops failing them?
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