On June 16, 2020, an individual was found dead in a stairwell on the campus of the Bedford Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts. The individual was a 62-year-old veteran who was wearing the same clothes he had on when he was reported missing from the Bedford Veterans Quarters on May 13, 2020.
According to the latest reports, the veteran was living on the campus in the Bedford Veterans Quarters (BVQ) –a residential facility for formerly homeless veterans that is owned by the VA but operated by Caritas Communities – and was last seen in the facility on May 8, 2020. Five days later, Caritas filed a missing persons report, and the VA and Bedford Police allegedly began working to discover his whereabouts. A month later, the veteran was found dead, by a fellow resident of the BVQ facility, in a stairwell that is alarmed and controlled exclusively by the VA. His cause of death is still pending, and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office is investigation the circumstances of the death.
After reading of this, I couldn’t help but wonder - why did it take several days to report him missing and how in the world did it take an entire month to find him?! The answer appears to be attributable, at least in part, to the Bedford VA Hospital Campus and its operations, as this is not the first time it has made the news. In fact, in September, a nurse was charged with watering down morphine doses for a dying patient and, in a separate incidence, another VA nurse was sentenced to one year probation for playing video games while her patient was dying and then lying to federal investigators about it.
Another shocking part about all of this, though, is that this is not the first time our firm has dealt with such a situation involving the VA, and I doubt we are alone. Within the last few years, we took on a case with very similar facts – a veteran went missing and was found dead in a locked stairwell several hours later. No surprise, the VA was quick to settle. However, I only mention this in order to provide another example of the scary reality that many veterans face when they present to the VA.
All too often our nation's veterans fall victim to the mishaps of the VA healthcare system – and that needs to be addressed – but the fact that this veteran was not reported missing sooner and that it took a month to discover his body is absolutely ridiculous. It’s about time the VA starts providing adequate care to and showing genuine concern for our veterans. They deserve much better.
A similar case we settled for $505,000 of a veteran passing away in a hot stairwell: https://www.vet4vet.net/post/family-of-veteran-killed-in-hot-stairwell-gets-505-000-settlement