On Sunday, a Navy veteran took his life, highlighting how even the simplest of mistakes can be enough to push these individuals over the edge.
Paul Shuping, who had served six years in the Navy, had been struggling for years.
He had the support of his brother, friends, and other veterans, but it still was not enough.
His brother, Donald, stated the care he was receiving at the VA had been very good to this point; the care was not the issue.
Paul had applied for his full benefits but was declined due to a paperwork error.
His brother stated that had Paul been a bit more patient, his benefits would have more than likely been put into effect, but the stress was just too much for his brother to take.
Paul apparently went to an area of the parking lot of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC that does get a lot of traffic and took his own life.
It was several days before this body was found.
Rash of Suicides
Paul’s suicide is, sadly, something that plays out far too often these days.
In April, three veterans took their lives outside VA facilities within a period of five days.
Just as Congress was addressing the issue on the floor in late April, yet another veteran committed suicide at a Cleveland VA facility.
Getting Better, but Still More Work
The situation at the VA has improved dramatically in recent years, especially where the actual care is concerned.
This case, however, points out a completely different problem.
Donald Shuping stated this was merely a paperwork error.
Whether it was Paul not filling something out properly or a VA agent getting sloppy is irrelevant because the mistake should have been caught before the forms were submitted.
That carelessness cost a veteran his life when it could have easily been prevented.
This issue must be addressed ASAP because our veterans simply deserve better.
Rest in peace, Paul. Thank you for your service.
Source: Stars and Stripes
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