Pictures of veterans who appear to be neglected in a Veterans Administration hospital in Durham, North Carolina, have gone viral since being posted on Facebook on Feb. 24.
Hanna McMenamin posted the photographs after going to the hospital with her husband Stephen, a Marine veteran.
Hanna described the vets in the disturbing pictures:
The man in the wheelchair on the left, were waiting in that waiting room at least 3 hours. The man bent over grabbing the chair, was yelling in pain and was borderline convulsing and almost falling out of his chair he was in so much pain. No one paid him any attention until I approached a nurse to please check on him. This gentleman sat in the waiting room in extreme pain for hours upon hours with very little attention paid to him.
The gentlemen seen in the two photos on the right, came in extremely sick. He could barely walk, sit up, or breathe ... This man sat in the chair for probably about 15 minutes before he was told he had to get up immediately. Upon being approached by the nurse (who was extremely rude to him), he told her he could not sit up and he needed to lay down.
She completely disregarded him and demanded he go sit in the waiting room area, leaving the recliner completely empty ... The man then asked multiple times for a place to lean back or lay down, and was completely disregarded by the nurse. Eventually after being completely neglected, he laid on the floor.
Stephen told WSB-TV that the veteran on the floor was using a bag of pain medication as a pillow for his head: "The nurse started yelling at him, telling him he can't do that. He's like, 'I can't get up, I won't get up. I will be here until you can see me. Can I please have a blanket?'"
The chief executive nurse told Stephen that the incident is being investigated.
The director of the hospital, DeAnne Seekins, released a statement to WTVD:
We take 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.
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.
Hannah noted on Feb. 27 on Facebook that the VA asked her to remove the picture because one of the men does not want his face posted even though the faces are blocked out.
She posted an update on Feb. 28: "My husband and I have been in touch with one of the men in the photographs, and he has given us his blessing to keep pushing on with this and has offered to help us in anyway he can. Thank you Mr. Lee. We will not let the VA sweep this under the rug."