PHOENIX, February 7, 2017 – Another veteran has committed suicide on the grounds of the Phoenix VA Medical Center.
“An elderly Veteran was injured in the parking lot of the Phoenix VA’s Southeast Community Based outpatient Clinic at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 1, 2017). Police and emergency responders from the Town of Gilbert responded to the scene and the Veteran was taken to a local emergency room where we understand he has since passed. The Veteran was a patient of the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Due to Privacy and HIPAA laws, we are unable to release further information. The Gilbert Police Department is conducting an investigation into the incident,” according to a statement from Paul Coupaud, the Phoenix VA Medical Center’s public affairs officer.
Coupaud said the veteran’s name has not yet been released.
Brandon Coleman is a former Phoenix VA Medical Center employee whose battle with the hospital led to a six figure settlement in a whistleblower retaliation case.
Coleman described the incident in much starker terms.
“Vet went to an appointment at Phoenix VA outpatient clinic located in Gilbert AZ (known as Southeast CBOC) on Feb 1.” Coleman said in an email. “He came out to his car and shot himself in head.”
Coleman also said that ironically the local congress person was attending a suicide prevention class with management at the hospital at the time this suicide happened.
Coleman provided information to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) which released a report in December 2016, which found all sorts of mismanagement at the hospital which put veterans at undue risk of suicide.
According to an internal memo, grief counseling is being provided to staff: “Unfortunately today, we experienced a traumatic which I cannot give details,” the internal email written by Paula Fisher, an Administrative Officer stated, “As a result, we have Psychological and Social Workers on site for support and debriefing.”
The Phoenix VA Medical Center is where the Veteran Administration scandal began when it was first reported by CNN that the hospital had created a secret waitlist.
Most recently, an employee and whistleblower Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez, called K-Rod by friends and colleauges, said that following the release of VA Office on Inspector General report based on his information, he is the subject of a retaliatory Administrative Investigative Board (AIB).
Using an AIB as a means of retaliation is common in the VA, James DeNofrio and Tim Skarada, whistleblowers at the Altoona VA Medical Center, were also the subject of a drawn out AIB.