Durham VA Photos Stir Anger- Veterans Ignored for Hours

 In opinion, Veterans

Marine Veteran Steve McMenamin and his wife Hanna went to the Durham VA in North Carolina to be seen by a doctor.  But the situation in the waiting room was disturbing as two veterans struggling with severe pain were ignored by staff for about 3 hours.

Durham VA

One veteran nearly fell out of his wheelchair in apparent convulsions from the pain. Another simply asked for a place to lie down. Since they didn’t give him anything, Steve let the man sit in his recliner. Hanna McMenamin wrote on her Facebook page:

“This man sat in the chair for probably about 15 minutes before he was told he had to get up immediately. Upon being approached by the nurse (who was extremely rude to him), he told her he could not sit up and he needed to lay down. She completely disregarded him and demanded he go sit in the waiting room area, leaving the recliner completely empty. Upon seeing this, and seeing how rude the nurse was being, my husband approached the nurse and asked why this man was not allowed to stay in the recliner given that my husband had been sitting in it for 30 plus minutes. The nurse refused to provide any explanation or even her name, and stormed off while this man was still struggling. The man then asked multiple times for a place to lean back or lay down, and was completely disregarded by the nurse. Eventually after being completely neglected, he laid on the floor.”

Steve McMenamin stated that the nurse become even more hostile to the man at that point. The veteran was resting his head on his medicine bag.

“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?’”

Steve’s wife Hannah posted photographs on Facebook to draw attention to the situation. The photos were shared thousands of times, which brought the incident to the attention of the VA.

Not necessarily to fix it. The McMenemins said that  the VA demanded they take the photos down because of “legal issues” because one person did not want his picture on Social Media.The men are not identifiable in the pictures as their faces have been blocked out.

For its part the Durham VA Medical Center issued a statement:

“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.

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.” VA Director DeAnne Seekins

There are good people at the VA Medical Centers around the country, and there are people who could care less. It’s going to be a long process to weed out the bad ones.


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