Alarming Photos of Elderly Patients Being Neglected at Veterans Affairs Hospital Spark Outrage

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Image credit: Hanna McMenamin/Facebook

Photos of elderly veterans in extreme pain waiting for treatment at a VA hospital in Durham, North Carolina, have gone viral and are causing outrage directed at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Retired Marine Stephen McMenamin and his wife, Hanna, were waiting at the Durham VA Medical Center when they noticed two veterans who were struggling in the waiting room. They documented what they witnessed on their February 24 visit on Facebook.

Mr. McMenamin told WSB-TV that his wife found “My wife found it upsetting, so she took a couple pictures.”

On Facebook, Hanna McMenamin described what she saw:

The man in the wheelchair on the left, were waiting in that waiting room at least 3 hours. The man bent over grabbing the chair, was yelling in pain and was borderline convulsing and almost falling out of his chair he was in so much pain. No one paid him any attention until I approached a nurse to please check on him. This gentleman sat in the waiting room in extreme pain for hours upon hours with very little attention paid to him.

The gentlemen seen in the two photos on the right, came in extremely sick. He could barely walk, sit up, or breathe. My husband had been directed to a chair just off the waiting area because it reclined (my husband was being seen for extreme lower back pain). Upon this man walking in and telling the nurse he needed to lay down, and her telling him to have a seat (with very little regard for his well being), my husband got up and offered this man the reclining chair. 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.

The McMenamins said both of the men were ignored for hours despite complaining of severe pain. They said one practically fell out of his wheelchair, and the other finally lay down on the floor after being denied a place to rest.

He said the veteran on the ground used his bag of medication for a pillow after being denied the available 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.

Jesse Lee, a Vietnam veteran, was the man in the wheelchair. He told WRAL he went to the VA for severe phantom pains after a leg amputation. HE said he was in pain for several hours before he was finally seen.

“Somebody in real bad pain should be seen. It felt like a railroad spike was going through my foot. It’s like one of the worst pains you’ve ever felt in your life.”

The Director of the Durham VA Medical Center said in a statement to WRAL:

“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.”

The McMenamins said the VA has contacted them and said they are conducting interviews to get to the bottom of what happened.

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Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

Wake The Flock Up! Please Share With Sheeple Far & Wide:
    • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

      Sad thing is, he’s absolutely right.

      • Maybe they should be giving them more training in dying like men, even if it is in VA hospitals.

    • Mysterious Man

      A damn shame, but they are still Americans. We need to stop this system before it gets to rest of us.

  • Airb0rne4325

    The bureaucracy at the VA is astounding.
    Normal ER-chest pain comes in, there is a set way things are done and a time frame in which they are done. EKG within 5 mins of arrival, IV inserted with blood drawn, MONA started, MD notified of pts arrival and EKG read right then. I have a personal best of 22 minutes of door to cath lab time.
    Interviewed at the VA for their ER…the staff were sitting around a computer looking at shoes. One patient in the whole ER. They don’t even take ambulances. Chest pain comes in, MD is notified. That’s it. They don’t have a cath lab, so if he is having a MI he will have to be transported to the hospital I was already at. EKG is done by one person. If ordered, blood is drawn by another person, if ordered an IV is inserted by another person, if ordered meds are given. Needless to say, I didn’t take the job.

    • Why would a VA hospital even have an ER?
      I would hope that vitals would be taken before blood is drawn, but maybe they do things differently under a profit motive.

      • Airb0rne4325

        You ever looked across a room and seen someone that is having a heart attack and is actively dying in front of you and THEY KNOW IT and you want to argue blood draws for profit? Talk to me when you know some more on the subject matter, please.

        • If you can tell that someone is having a heart attack by looking at them, why should anyone waste time in medical school? I guess I wasted my time getting an EMT certification…

          • Airb0rne4325

            School teaches you the basics and theory behind. Experience gives you the real education. You screwed up when you brought blood and profit into it. Blood is needed immediately to be run. BUN and Creat need to be known for the IV dye amount to be used in the cath lab. Coags to see if they are normal for the Angiomax and or Integrilin that will be used and if there needs to be a double bolus of Integrilin. K and Mg levels for potential arrhythmia problems that you can cut off as fast as you can. Not to mention the Cardiac Markers that need to be started to make sure they are falling 6-8 hrs later. School teaches you the things you need, experience teaches you what they actually mean.

          • I was trained by a RN who was an ER veteran, and she told us that the first thing one should do with a known CI was push NaHCO3 stat.
            I guess you know more than she did.

          • BW83

            Bicarb is controversial as a “first line” treatment, there’s no consensus. Airborne has it right. For that matter, I’d argue for getting vitals AND drawing blood. If one person is solely handling a potential STEMI case the hospital is doing it wrong, but I’d prefer blood work or an EKG over vitals any day of the week. Could honestly care less about blood pressure at that very moment as that’s easily corrected. Would rather see a heart rhythm, cardiac panel, and chemistry.

          • Airb0rne4325

            I never mentioned VS because it is understood that would be done. I also didn’t mention undressing the patient, but one would assume that would be done as well.
            And thanks for the back up. I appreciate it.

          • BW83

            Oh I know, I only mention vitals as disqus brought it up.

            It’s pretty easy to tell who has experience working in a hospital setting lol

          • Or, at least, who can feign it best.

          • BW83

            Ya caught me, totally faking it lol

          • There is all the time in the world to determine a treatment protocol after the blood pressure is unmeasurable. More consensus is determined in morgues than in ERs.

        • NonYo Business

          Arguing with a fool only proves there are two.

  • It is not Paranoia

    I fucking hate when people lack compassion. How can you let anybody lay on the floor screaming in pain and do nothing? You have to be a heartless monster.
    And heartless monsters are what’s wrong with our world.

    • Pippiagain

      and many of them seem to be drawn to government jobs. 🙁

    • BW83

      Lack compassion? The man had phantom pain….meaning pain coming from a body part that no longer exists. It isn’t as easy as giving the guy an opioid and calling it a day, and pain, apart from severe abdominal or chest pain ISN’T an emergency.

      Triage is in play, meaning the most pressing issues are seen to first. The condition the man was suffering from wasn’t an emergency. I wouldn’t consider stopping care of another patient to tend to a guy with phantom pain compassionate to the person you left.

      Could they have handled it better? Yeah, beyond a doubt. It’s also not uncommon for people to play things up thinking it will get them seen quicker either.

      • It is not Paranoia

        You sound a little like heartless monster…

        Would you say the same thing if you were in such pain? No matter where it came from.

        If someone is obviously in trouble, you help him. There’s no debate. Where does this idea of not-helping come from??? How can you even consider it?
        I’ll never understand.

        • BW83

          You sound like someone that doesn’t know the slightest thing about medical issues, so naturally you need to spout off about it. We tend to put priority on actual medical problems that threaten life, not pain in a nonexistent appendage.

          I’d consider it heartless to quit helping the people you are helping to drop everything and tend to someone else when that someone else isn’t in an emergent situation. No different than a cashier ringing up a person 5 spots behind you because they look like they’re running late.

          He wasn’t in “trouble” hence why he’s in the waiting room. Again, phantom pain isn’t an emergency.

          • It is not Paranoia

            Apples and oranges, nevermind.

  • Pippiagain

    Oh, they will do an interview, and put the employee right back on they floor, and the abuse will continue. And we will forget all about it until another good Samaritan brings it to out attention. How awful that our veterans are being treated this way. How awful that any person could be treated this way.

    • Actually, most of them get better treatment than the unarmed and innocent non-combatants that they encountered in whatever country they invaded without a declaration of war from Congress. We should consider ourselves lucky that the “enemy” survivors don’t have access to the advanced killing technology that was used on them.

      • Pippiagain

        I’m sorry but that is a completely different story and has nothing to do with this one.

  • BW83

    Yes, everyone should be fired anytime a complaint is filed.

    There’s more to this story than is being presented

  • You never heard about civil service rules for dismissal?

  • Rey d’Tutto

    Th VA, giving our ex-military one more chance to die for their country.