Veterans Were in ‘Dire’ Shape at North Carolina Facility

Men who served our country were 'ignored for hours, made to suffer alone in the waiting area'

by Angelina Newsom | Updated 06 Mar 2017 at 9:29 AM

I was recently scrolling through my news feed on Facebook when I came across some photos that a friend had shared. They depicted what appeared to be a Veterans Affairs hospital emergency room or treatment facility.

In the photos, one elderly gentleman sat hunched over in a wheelchair. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and it looked as though he was about to fall out of the wheelchair. Another elderly gentleman was lying on the bare floor in the facility.

The original poster was a woman named Hannah McMenamin, who is married to a Marine veteran. She described the scene in the waiting area as extremely dire.

The elderly gentlemen were both suffering severe pain, to the extent of crying out and calling for help. They were apparently ignored for hours and made to suffer alone in the waiting area. The elderly man on the floor was even denied a place to rest after asking several times.

In the world of social media, users are well aware of how certain subjects can spark outrage and go viral — and treatment of veterans is one of those topics that will always circulate among service members and veterans with frequency. With a large military community presence online, posts such as these are often shared up to several hundred thousand times over.

Naturally, McMenamin's post went viral. She made the post to raise awareness and bring accountability to the situation.

Related: Veterans Who Need Care Have Important Rights

The appalling conditions that were shown have no place in 2017. It's truly shocking that veterans are still being treated this way. These elderly gentleman are both Vietnam vets and have earned their right to be treated with the utmost respect by not only society, but the VA. Too many of these stories have been circulating in the past few years.

Luckily for these veterans, there were those present who decided that they were going to take a stand. This is incredibly important for making sure things happen in a timely manner and when it comes to incidents such as this one. Hannah McMenamin and her husband alerted managers to the situation. According to reports, an employee who was involved has been removed from patient care. An internal review is set to take place regarding that employee and the treatment.

To me, one of the most horrible aspects of this situation is the fact that one of the gentleman is an amputee, and the other gentleman was asked to get up off the floor where he was lying. The amount of disrespect that these gentlemen were subjected to not only causes shock and disbelief, but outrage.

Related: A Homebound Veteran's Big Surprise

These men served their country and have earned their benefits. It's incredibly disheartening to see disabled veterans in such a condition with no medical help being provided to them. At the very least, they could have been given some consideration and dignity; they received neither from the staff of this particular facility. Thankfully, someone like Hannah McMenamin was present to provide these gentlemen with a voice when theirs was so cruelly ignored.

Note: The medical director of the Durham, North Carolina, facility referenced in this article, DeAnne Seekins, said disrespecting veterans will not be tolerated, as The New York Post also reported. "It is an honor to serve America's heroes and actions that do not align with our core values will not be tolerated," Seekins said in a statement. "We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care to the Veterans we serve and being responsive to our patient's needs. Veterans deserve nothing less."

Angelina Newsom is a U.S. Army veteran and an OpsLens contributor. She served 10 years in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies criminal justice and is still active within the military community. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

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