The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has paid $200 million to almost 1,000 families in wrongful death cases since 9/11, The Center for Investigative Reporting found through Freedom of Information Act requests.
The nonprofit put together an interactive display on its website so visitors can click each of the 50 states for information on wrongful death payments. Stories include everything from Iraq War veterans who "shot or hanged themselves after being turned away from mental health treatment," to Vietnam veterans whose cancerous tumors metastasized while they were neglected.
Two incidents cited in the story include the case of veteran from Shreveport, La., who overdosed on morphine while housed in a locked VA psychiatric unit, and a World War II veteran who became paralyzed from the neck down when he was left unattended in a VA nursing home bathroom.
“[A]ny adverse incident for a veteran within our care is one too many,” agency spokeswoman Victoria Dillon told CIR through a written statement. She added that the agency was “committed to continuous improvement" and would "conduct a thorough review to understand what happened."
CIR noted that the number of wrongly deaths represent "a small fraction of the more than 6 million veterans who seek care from the agency every year."
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