Vet Commits Suicide After Being Turned Away From VA, His Father Wants Answers

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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The father of a veteran who committed suicide after being kicked out of a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center is demanding answers from the VA.

Army Sgt. John Toombs was booted out of the Alvin C. York VA medical center in Tennessee last Tuesday. He recorded a video about the incident.

“I came for help and they just threw me out like a stray dog in the rain,” Toombs said in the video.

He called his father two days before Thanksgiving, told him what had happened and said he wanted to try again with the VA the next morning.

John ended up hanging himself in an empty VA building.

David Toombs, John’s father, wants answers, NewsChannel5 reports.

“Everything about it is wrong,” David said. He hasn’t been contacted by the VA at all, with the exception of a chaplain who was there simply to inform David that his son had died.

David thinks John was in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

“A tragic incident occurred at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) Alvin C. York campus in Murfreesboro, TN,” VA medical center director Jennifer Vedral-Baron said in a statement. “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.”

Toomb’s friends are devastated. Joshua Whitford, who served with Toombs, said an incident with a doctor resulted in Toombs being discharged from a drug treatment program.

“To the VA, this is just unacceptable. You’ve got a veteran asking for help and you let him down yet another one,” Whitford said. “Now he’s just another statistic.”

“He just had a soul, a beautiful soul. He was always there to make somebody else smile,” Whitford added.

A new VA study published this year found that approximately 20 veterans commit suicide every day.

In 2014, there were 7,400 vet suicides, which comprises 18 percent of all suicides in the U.S. for that year. Veterans made up 7.3 percent of the U.S. population in 2014.

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