Veteran Commits Suicide at VA

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After being forced out of a VA treatment program two days before Thanksgiving, a veteran Army sergeant committed suicide shortly after posting a video.

American Military News stated John Toombs was discharged for what he described as “trivial reasons”, in a self recorded video he made two days before Thanksgiving at the Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

“They threw me out like a stray dog in the rain,” was how Sergeant John Toombs described it in his video.

A few hours after he released the video, Toombs found an abandoned building on the VA hospital’s property and hung himself inside. His body was discovered early the next morning by hospital personnel going to work.

Since the video’s release, it has gone viral and received national attention.

 


John Toombs was an Army sergeant and veteran who had served in Afghanistan but later developed PTSD as well as depression.

John’s father, David, said that his son had entered a treatment program at York Medical Center and had been receiving it since October, 2016. After hearing that his son was discharged, David begged John to return home but John said he wanted to stick around and speak to them in the morning so he could plead his case.

Other than a meeting with a  VA chaplain, John’s father has not heard a word from any VA personnel about the incident, the video, or the reason John was forced to leave. The VA is holding John’s body for investigation.

John’s father hopes his son’s tragedy will bring much needed attention to the PTSD and VA issues many other veterans are constantly dealing with.

The VA has confirmed the incident occurred and is investigating along with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s department.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ Health System Director, Jennifer Vedral-Baron, released the following statement Monday afternoon:

A tragic incident occurred at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) Alvin C. York campus in Murfreesboro, TN. At approximately 6:40 a.m., Wednesday, November 23, 2016, personnel arriving for work discovered Mr. John Toombs, an Army Veteran, deceased in an apparent suicide.

This is a heart wrenching tragedy for everyone involved. Out of respect for the Veteran and his family, we are unable to speak further about the specifics of his care and benefits in accordance with his privacy rights under HIPAA. Management and staff of TVHS offer our sincere condolences, and our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Toombs’ family and friends.

Suicide is a tragic outcome and even one suicide is one too many. VA is committed to ensuring the safety of our Veterans, especially when they are in crisis. Veterans, Service members, and their loved ones in crisis can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.

John’s video can be watched below:

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