A Viral Photo of Veterans Is Shedding Light on the Problems With VA Medical Centers
News| | By Steven Lerner
Americans owe a debt of gratitude to veterans. But a viral photo taken at a VA hospital shows that some Veterans are still lacking basic medical treatment.
Last week, Hanna McMenamin was at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina with her husband Stephen McMenamin when they noticed two older veterans being severely neglected. The first man— 63-year-old Vietnam War veteran Jesse Lee — sat in a wheelchair while in intense pain.
“It was the worst thing to ever happen in my life,” Lee, who was sick in his stomach, told the Huffington Post. “I sat there for five hours in this pain.”
Another unidentified veteran was reportedly really sick, unable to sit down and he collapsed on the floor. Stephen McMenamin offered the man his reclining chair to sit in.
After complaining to the waiting room nurse, Hanna McMenamin snapped a photograph of the veterans in pain and shared it to Facebook.
“The point of this post is to show the issues that exist at the VA,” McMenamin wrote on Facebook. “Yesterday at the VA we did encounter some nurses who genuinely cared about the patients, but after seeing what happened, I had to share this. We did end up getting the nurses name who was extremely rude and neglected patients in need. And are planning to go through any means to make sure people know what was going on.”
As of March 2, the Facebook post received over 140,000 shares.
UPDATE FROM 3/2/17 BELOW (scroll to bottom of post)Yesterday (2/24/17) while at the Durham, NC VA Hospital, my husband…
“I saw something wrong happening in my opinion and I felt like nobody would possibly believe me if I didn’t take a picture,” Hanna McMenamin told North Carolina television station WNCN.
According to a Facebook update from McMenamin, the Durham VA Medical Center was reportedly “unhappy” with the photo, asked her to remove it, and claimed that one of the veterans in the photo did not want it to be posted. McMenamin asserts that Lee gave her his “blessing” to keep the photo online.
“I was made aware of a regrettable incident that occurred in our Emergency Department over the weekend and am thankful that someone cared enough to share the incident with us,” Durham VA Director DeAnne Seekins wrote in a press statement. “Upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review.”
Perhaps the best way to get VA centers to help more veterans is to make sure that they are properly funded. In 2015, a report stated that the VA hospitals were $2 billion short of the money they needed.
Your Daily Dish reached out to Hanna McMenamin for a comment.