When a North Carolina couple saw what was happening at their local Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital, they couldn't believe their eyes and immediately pulled out their phones and snapped a few pictures for evidence.
Marine veteran Stephen McMenamin and his wife, Hanna, said that they were were in the VA waiting room in Durham, North Carolina, on Feb. 24 when they saw a man in a wheelchair doubled over in extreme pain for at least three hours and another man who was in pain lying on the ground "after being completely neglected" and "completely disregarded" by staff members, according to a post that Hanna uploaded to Facebook.
"He just kind of laid down and said, 'I can't get up, I won't get up," Stephen told WLS-TV. "'Please get me a blanket until you can see me.'"
A few minutes later, security guards helped the man up and removed him from the waiting room, the couple explained.
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"It's just horrible sitting in a room like that with people who could have been my grandfather in that much pain and having people not even react, it seemed like," said Hanna. "The majority of the people working there were very nice to us. They were great. It's just that you have these people that don't care it seems like, and from what I've read from the comments, this is happening all over the place."
Another man during their visit was "groaning and convulsing in pain" to the point that he was "falling out of his wheelchair," Stephen said.
"He was visibly in pain," added Hanna. "And I think the thing ... that disturbed me so much was that there were people just sitting there acting like nothing was happening and he was sitting right in front of them and they were not even acknowledging that it was happening."
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Hanna said that a lot of staffers at the hospital "just don't care for what they're doing and they feel like they can't be fired, so they just kind of get away with it."
The Director of the VA Hospital in Durham, DeAnne Seekins, told WLS-TV that she holds her workers to a high standard of care and that the hospital takes "seriously any allegation of poor service."
"I was made aware of a regrettable incident that occurred in our Emergency Department over the weekend and am thankful someone cared enough to share the incident with us," she explained. "Our mission is to provide the highest level of health care to Veterans, so upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review. We truly regret how this Veteran was treated."
Hanna said on Facebook that the VA has asked the couple to take their photos down.