Department of Veterans Affairs hospital staff dismissed a suicidal patient who died six days after a visit in which a doctor shouted that the patient "can go shoot (themself). I do not care,” a new report finds.
The patient in their 60s had a history of panic attacks and addiction to opioids and tranquilizers and sought treatment at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., but was released before being given required suicide prevention planning, the department's inspector general said in the report released Tuesday. The patient, who isn't identified by name or gender, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
In a statement, the medical center's director, Mike Heimall, called the instance an isolated incident that "does not represent the quality health care tens of thousands of D.C.-area veterans have come to expect from our facilities." He said the center "grieves the loss of this veteran."
The hospital, Heimall said, has made improvements that include random audits of 20% of suicide-related emergency room visits to make sure staff followed policy and checking that staff monitors emergency-room patients who express suicidal thoughts.KEEP READING