Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.
The hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization, which has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the department confirmed that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix. Officials there had tried to cover up long waiting times for 1,700 veterans seeking medical care. A study released by the Government Accountability Office in April indicated that the system had yet to fix its scheduling problems.
A the New York Times said; "he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health. ' He went to the E.R. and was denied service,' one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. 'And then he went to his car and shot himself.'”
The worker questioned why Mr. Kaisen had not been referred to the hospital’s Building 64, its mental health center. The staff member said that while there was normally no psychologist at the ready in the E.R., one was always on call, and that the mental health building was open “24/7.”
Christopher Goodman, a spokesman for the hospital, said that there “was no indication that he presented to the E.R. prior to the incident.” It is unclear if any official record was made of a visit by Mr. Kaisen.
Read the NY Times article, here.