VA Clinic Told Suicidal Veteran: ‘Come Back in Two Weeks’
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A Tennessee veteran who was a combat medic in Afghanistan killed himself Tuesday after reportedly seeking help at a VA clinic and being told to come back in two weeks, Knox TN Today reports.
Sorin Stanescu, a registered nurse and the father of a young daughter, went to the West Knoxville VA clinic with his childhood friend, Ty Nance, after he had an episode.
Stanescu told the nurse he was on a mood suppressant to help him sleep, telling her he’d only slept three hours in the last four days. He also told her he was taking a steroid for a problem with his neck.
When she asked him if he was suicidal, Nance recalls, “He said, ‘No, but I have been in the past, and with that, she informed him that she couldn’t do anything else for him because he hadn’t seen doctor since January 30, 2020. She sent us out the door with a doctor’s appointment in two weeks.”
He committed suicide later that day.
Nance told the local news there were enough red flags in Stanescu’s medical records to alert the VA that something was bad.
“When she pulled up his records, she had the whole screen showing he had run his car off the road in November 2020. A few years before that he had driven to Georgia and didn’t know where he was. He got tasered and put in a psych ward and was there for 10 days. They knew he had manic depression, PTSD and they knew he was suicidal. They knew he was on steroids. To turn him away and give him a doctor’s appointment in two weeks – the VA really dropped the ball on this one. It was so chaotic. I couldn’t understand where they wanted me to take him. I don’t want to see this happen to anybody else. I just feel that the field he was in let him down,” Nance said.
“He was about to buy a house out by me in South Knoxville,” he added. “He’d been at my house every weekend and had been going to church. He had a plan to stay in Knoxville five years, then turn the house over to his daughter when she turns 18 and move to Utah to be near his sister.”
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing Wednesday focused on preventing veteran suicide. When the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization asked its members and followers to name the top six issues facing them, suicide was at the top of the list.