Oct 18, 2011

Lawsuit Claims VA Negligent in Iraq War Veteran Suicide

Some Vietnam War guy; makes me laugh and advocate for veterans

By Kristin M. Hall

The widow of an Iraq war veteran from Tennessee claims in a lawsuit that the Veterans Affairs was negligent in failing to diagnose and treat his post-traumatic stress disorder before he committed suicide in 2008.

The suit filed Tuesday in federal court in Greeneville says staff at the VA hospital in Mountain Home did not adequately treat Scott Walter Eiswert, of Greeneville, before his suicide at the age of 31. Eiswert, who served with the Tennessee National Guard, served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

The family's lawsuit is the latest criticism of the VA's response to preventing suicide among veterans and dealing with a massive backlog of benefits claims. Similar lawsuits have been filed against the VA by families of veterans who have committed suicide after seeking help at VA facilities.
A political debate outside the sphere of the popular news media, and restricted among rightwing thinktanks and their allies [included media allies such as Associated Press writer Allen Breed] contending veterans [especially Vietnam War veterans] ought to leave their war experiences behind, against veterans' advocates who back disability benefits for all veterans over the course of their lives, continues on the questions of whether PTSD and other ailments are life-long and the question of what we as a country owe to our some 26-million veterans.

One Vietnam War Army combat veteran, Bob Walsh, an attorney battling the VA for his fellow veterans and a critic of the VA response to preventing suicide, told me:

What about the claims of all the honest veterans that languish in the system for decades until they die. [Veterans] ... freeze to death on the streets or blow their brains out in the garage. The veterans' benefits claims system is a national tragedy ... .
For an opposing view, as proposed most prominantly by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and implemented in part by the Bush-Cheney administration, see Blaming the Veteran. If you surf to Dr. Sally Satel's work at AEI, just read the summary if I may advise, because Satel may make you want to fucking puke.

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