How the VA cooked the suicide books


By Jillian Kay Melchior | National Review Online

Luke Senescall, 26, sat in the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center “holding his mouth to keep from screaming,” his father, Steve, recalls. “Tears are busting out of his face, and he’s bobbing his head down to his knees and back up and down to his knees and back up. . . . I should never have taken him to the VA hospital. I should have just brought him home. . . . I took him there, and basically I signed a death sentence for him.”

After two years in the Navy, spent in part working on an aircraft carrier, Luke had been diagnosed as bipolar. Despite his mental illness and struggles with alcohol, the young veteran was trying to pull his life together, his father tells National Review Online. But when Luke desperately sought help from the VA, the psychiatrist spoke harshly to him, set an appointment two weeks out, and sent the Senescalls on their way, Steve says.

Speaking quickly and furiously, Steve continues: “If you can imagine someone coming in to the emergency room with a compound fracture and a bone sticking out of their leg or arm, and the doctor says, ‘What are you doing here bothering me? You don’t have an appointment. Come back and make an appointment; come back, and I’ll take care of you.’ This boy was broken and crying in front of [the VA’s psychiatrist], and he didn’t even bother to want to take the time to help [Luke].”

at National Review Online.