Photo by John Moore/Getty Images(OAKWOOD, Ga.) — A troubling video by an Iraq War veteran posted to YouTube Tuesday has led the Department of Veterans Affairs to issue an statement acknowledging what appears to be mistreatment of a man seeking help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The veteran, identified by the nonprofit North Georgia Veteran’s Outreach Center as Chris Dorsey, is shown in the video approaching a counter at the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Oakwood, Ga.
After waiting for more than five minutes, Dorsey tells a man at the counter he was previously receiving care at a clinic in Athens, Ga., but had lost his job and needed to switch clinics.
In the video, the man at the counter can be heard saying, “We’re not accepting any new patients.”
Dorsey replies, “The VA is not accepting any new patients?”
The man then says, “Not this clinic.”
Dorsey then walks away from the counter, saying, “Wonder why 22 veterans kill themselves every day.”
In a statement to ABC News, the Department of Veterans Affairs said the message Dorsey was given “is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“It is inconsistent with our ICARE values, which include commitment and advocacy to and for our nation’s veterans, our patients,” the statement reads. “VA staff should have established a full understanding of Mr. Dorsey’s medical situation and determined if an appointment was available for him at another location or if he was eligible for the Choice Program and could be seen outside of VA.”
The VA’s statement said leadership at Atlanta’s medical center is reaching out to Dorsey to try and give him help, and facility officials “are implementing a plan to re-train front line staff in the appropriate way to inform veterans about the options they have available to them.”
The video surfaced at a time of increased scrutiny for the department, following a series of scandals involving extensive wait times and falsified records in several VA hospitals. As the VA has attempted reforms, a recent New York Times report suggests the number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is 50 percent higher than when the scandal first broke more than a year ago.
ABC News has reached out to Dorsey for comment, but has not yet received a response.
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