A former Marine and his wife say veterans were so gravely mistreated at a Veterans Administration hospital in Durham, North Carolina last week that they had to take pictures of the scene and post them to Facebook.
Stephen McMenamin, a former U.S. Marine and his wife Hanna posted photos to Facebook of two veterans struggling in the waiting room due to pain they were suffering.
The couple said that several veterans were ignored for hours despite showing multiple signs of suffering including one choosing to lay down on the floor in pain after being denied a place to rest.
“My wife found it upsetting, so she took a couple pictures,” McMenamin told WSBTV, describing how one veteran chose to use his bag of medication as a pillow after being denied a reclining chair.
“The nurse started yelling at him, telling him he can’t do that. He’s like, ‘I can’t get up and I won’t get up. I will be here until you can see me. Can I please have a blanket?’” McMenamin said.
“It’s just that you have these people that don’t care it seems like, and from what I’ve read from the comments, this is happening all over the place,” Hanna said, WTVD reported. “You get people that just don’t care for what they’re doing and they feel like they can’t be fired, so they just kind of get away with it. I just think it’s unacceptable.”
The Director of the VA Hospital in Durham, DeAnne Seekins released a statement regarding the incident:
“We take seriously any allegation of poor service. I was made aware of a regrettable incident that occurred in our Emergency Department over the weekend and am thankful someone cared enough to share the incident with us. Our mission is to provide the highest level of health care to Veterans, so upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review. We truly regret how this Veteran was treated.
It is an honor to serve America’s heroes and actions that do not align with our core values will not be tolerated. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care to the Veterans we serve and being responsive to our patient’s needs. Veterans deserve nothing less.”
The hospital’s chief executive nurse told McMenamin that there is an investigation underway.