Marine veteran Joe Asbury is blasting his local VA in Lexington, Kentucky for mistreatment over the weekend when he went in to get help for severe pain, vomiting and headaches.
When the symptoms worsened after going to the ER Friday, he went a second time to get medical attention and was admitted to the VA clinic Saturday evening. The 29-year-old Marine vet says he waited more than eight hours before a doctor would finally see him.
Asbury –who served three years in the Corps before being honorably discharged*– says the staff there immediately deemed him a drug addict and treated him differently, despite his complete openness about his medical history.
“I had never been in that much pain before in my life,” he says.
At 2am, when a doctor came in, he was already severely dehydrated from days of vomiting and had to be hooked up to an IV.
Still, he was in so much pain and asked the staff several times to give him something for it, other than Tylenol. At one point during the night, yesterday, he was so weak he fell to the floor while trying to go from the wheelchair to the bed. The nurses working on the floor passed right by him, but didn’t seem to care all that much, he says.
While Joe was still on the floor, one of the nurses eventually came in to tell him the doctors have other people to see. When that nurse, Sam, left the room, Joe says, he couldn’t believe the reaction he gave him.
“I was shaking in pain,” Joe says. “They just laughed at me, while I was having a panic attack on the floor.”
Joe, who suffers from PTSD and other service-related injuries, says he felt completely helpless, embarrassed and neglected. He knew they held bias against him and were being condescending and judgmental because he had a history of drug abuse.
However, he made it clear to them from the outset that he’d been clean for 90 days -tests would prove it– and he wanted professionals to “monitor his pain” while he was in the hospital.
Asbury made it clear to the staff that he did not want to be sent home with drugs — which had happened too easily before — because he knew it would just cause him to relapse.
Frustrated by the their treatment – he decided he would be better off at home and left the hospital this morning — without his discharge papers. The doctor who was supposed to come see him never showed up.
Before exiting the building, Joe decided to make one last stop at the Patient Advocates’ office to see if someone there could help. No luck. Not only was nobody there to assist, but he says, the room looked more like a “janitor’s closet” with a plaque.
We are still waiting to hear comment from the VA clinic in Lexington regarding this case.
*Editor’s Note: Joe Asbury’s service record has not been verified.
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