The growing number of veteran suicides is an issue that took center stage at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix on Tuesday.It has been a hot-button issue for veterans for a while, but in Phoenix it was magnified two weeks ago by the suicide of a veteran on VA property.
“I think he’s a martyr for what he did,” veteran Brandon Coleman said of Thomas Murphy, who tragically took his life while sitting in the parking lot of the VA administrative offices in downtown Phoenix.”I believe it was a symbolic act and that he did it because he would want us to talk about it,” Coleman said.
“Thanks for nothing VA,” Murphy wrote in his suicide note.
He blamed the VA for doing nothing to help him with his chronic pain and said the VA wanted to take away the pain medication he was receiving.
I believe most of us pain patients have a similar reaction when doctors stop or greatly reduce our pain medication. Especially since it’s usually not for a medical reason, but to conform with the anti-opioid hysteria sweeping the country.
I have to admit I have contemplated doing the same thing: walking into the office of my propaganda-blinded doctor and shooting myself right there in the waiting room, making sure to leave a note placing the blame squarely on my new lack of access to opiates to treat my lifelong chronic pain.
“They get denied and then they feel you know like nobody cares and it’s just like I said a spiral downward,” Louis Albin said.
The latest VA study shows 22 veterans a day commit suicide. But Coleman, a VA whistleblower who worked with suicidal vets, said the study left out statistics from California, Illinois and Texas and the totals are completely false.
Considering the extremely high populations of these states, it makes no sense to have excluded their data from the study.
“If they gave the American people the real numbers – 45, 50, 60, a day – would you let your kids join the military?” Coleman said.
“Absolutely it’s higher than 22,” he said. “They need to do an accurate study that includes all 50 states by someone outside of the VA.
I’m not at all surprised at these numbers. Not only do we send our young people into a messy, poorly defined, unpopular war, but then we deny them proper medical care afterward. If the VA admitted how many in the military end up killing themselves, it would be a PR fiasco.
VA officials say they’ve made changes since Coleman blew the whistle on issues with how suicidal veterans are treated at the emergency room at the Phoenix VA Hospital.