From July 2007 to July 2008, 21 veterans in the Spokane VA service area killed themselves, including 14 who’d had contact with the medical center, according to Department of Veterans Affairs records.
Senescall, who had a history of mental health problems, sought help from the medical center’s behavioral health unit before returning to his Spokane home and hanging himself.
Steve and Jake Senescall have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, seeking damages from the federal government for alleged negligence by the VA and for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of Senescall’s death.
A psychiatrist failed to offer Senescall treatment, counseling or medication, the lawsuit says, but instead “chastised Lucas for missing three mental health appointments in the prior three years.”
In May, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to overhaul its mental health care system nationally in response to a lawsuit filed by veterans groups.