When former US. Marine Stephen McMenamin and his wife Hana were at the VA hospital in Durham, North California they had expected to go in to receive treatment for Stephen’s extreme lower back pain. They ended up witnessing a series of events so shocking that they had to share the incident to Facebook. They simply could not believe what they were witnessing as they sat in the waiting room.
Also in the waiting room was a veteran in a wheelchair who had been in in the waiting room for hours. He had been leaning over, clutching his chair, and yelling out in pain. Hana explained that no one paid him any attention until she asked a nurse to see if he was alright.
Just when they thought it was over, another man came into the waiting room and was in so much pain that he was unable to sit or breathe properly, however the nurse told him to have a seat. Since Stephen was sitting in a chair that could recline, he offered it up to the older man but after fifteen minutes the nurse told him he could no longer sit there. After the couple asked the nurse why he couldn’t sit in the reclining chair, she refused to answer their question and walked away. The man was in so much pain that he eventually ended up lying on the floor.
Hana and Stephen said that the nurse had treated the man in a rude manner, and they were in such disbelief at the treatment these patients were receiving that they posted the photos along with a lengthy caption to Facebook. To Hana’s surprise it went viral. It was shared over 100,000 times.
Hana and Stephen wanted to share what they had witnessed to shine a light on the problems that exist at the VA. “[We are] planning to go through any means to make sure people know what’s really going on… Our veterans deserve better and the problems in the VA system are very real.” Hana said.
After the post went viral, the VA Hospital contacted them directly asking them to take the photos down, because the men in the images didn’t want them online. Hana blurred out the identities of the men’s faces as soon as issues arose and she has stated that the veterans can contact her if they want the images removed. She explained that the photos were not meant to humiliate anyone and were posted strictly to raise awareness.
After the Hospital tried to get them to remove the photos, Hana and Stephen created the Facebook page ‘Help Put Veterans First’ and were then contacted by WTVD-TV who spoke to the couple and hospital staff. They also reached out to the three veterans who were said to have been mistreated. Although two of them said they received decent care, there was one who said he had received terrible care. The nurse responsible for the mistreatment has been removed from her responsibilities and will be undergoing internal review.
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