Monday, March 09, 2015

Indianapolis VA Manager Mocks Suicidal Veterans In E-Mail

A manager at the Roudebush VA Hospital forwarded an e-mail to co-workers that contained images mocking veterans with suicidal tendencies, a serious problem grappling U.S. servicemen returning from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. A copy of the e-mail wound up in the hands of the Indianapolis Star, which it says depicts images of a Christmas elf pleading for Xanax and hanging himself with a strand of Christmas lights. The e-mail was sent by Robin Paul, a social worker who manages the Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic, which is charged with providing transitional services to returning veterans, including mental health services. From the Star:
. . . When initially asked about the email, Paul responded, “Oh my goodness.” She then referred a reporter to the hospital’s public affairs department, which emailed The Star a statement on her behalf.
“I would like to sincerely apologize for the email message and I take full responsibility for this poor judgment,” Paul said. “I have put my heart and soul into my work with Veterans for many years. I hold all Veterans and military personnel in the highest regard and am deeply remorseful for any hurt this may have caused.”
Julie Webb, a Roudebush spokeswoman, said administrators were made aware of the email “a couple of months ago.”
“The email is totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans,” she said. “We apologize to our veterans and take suicide and mental health treatment seriously, striving to provide the highest quality.”
Webb said the issue was “administratively addressed.” She declined to provide specifics, citing employee confidentiality.
Paul remains employed at the hospital and continues to manage the clinic, earning an annual salary of $79,916. She received a $2,000 performance bonus in 2013, records show. More recent bonus information was not immediately available . . . 
Not surprisingly, Veterans organizations are extremely upset by the employee's actions. Ken Hylton, commander of the Indiana American Legion, called the employee's actions a "slap in the face" and "a disgusting display of mockery." He called for Paul's firing, which obviously didn't occur.

UPDATE: Not directly related, but Jonathan Turley has a blog entry this morning about a Florida police officer who was fired and now faces criminal charges because he sent an image of a suicide victim to his ex-girlfriend. The officer was in the midst of a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend when she turned the image he had sent to her over to his superiors after she asked him how his week was going.


Eric Morris said...

In our system of double justice, I'm sure the leaker of the email has been fired, though. I wish these Vets groups would advocate for a less bellicose foreign policy that would reduce the need for these services rather than inviting the Chickenhawk warmongers to speak at their national conferences. That's why the only group to which I belong is Veterans for Peace.

Anonymous said...

This is irrelevant. Mocking the troops is socially acceptable, right?

"You go to war with the army you've got, not the army you want!" Donald Rumsfeld

"There are those who mean our soliders harm and to them I say Bring it on!" President Bush.

Pete Boggs said...

She should be fired- immediately!

C. Roger Csee said...

"What difference does it make!"

Flogger said...

Eric as Veteran myself I agree I would like to see the Vet Groups also push back against the Chicken Hawks in Government for constantly placing our soldiers in harms way.

What causes me to be enraged is this groveling to the Warrior Cult by our Elected Officials and Society in general. Memo to file - I do not want your Thanks for being a Veteran.

When is the last time either of our US Senators or our Federal Members of the House visited the VA Hospital?? Here I am not talking about Photo 0ps. Have any of them ever went to the VA Hospital and asked the Vets about their treatment?? I have been waiting three weeks to have an appointment scheduled. I have left three separate messages and no call backs.

Anonymous said...

The groveling toward the Warrior Cult occurs because it benefits the MIC.