INTERVIEW: Veteran Tells Heartbreaking Story Of Alleged Mistreatment At Hospital
Kristopher Trull has been in contact with Matt Lammers for a year after seeing him in this video. The two men are connected by the bonds of Military Service and patriotism.
Kristopher, of AVA, is very active in Veteran’s causes, dreaming of working with other Veterans groups,turning his own properties in Michigan and Texas into facilities for Veterans.
So when Matt Lammers took to Facebook to post about what he considers bad treatment at the Tucson Medical Center, Kristoper Trull was quick to notice the post and act.
Kristoper called the Hospital and posted his conversation on Facebook, which started an online vigil, and sparked in-person activism for better treatment of Mr. Lammers. Other Veterans groups saw the posts and reacted with their own supportive messages and videos. Some of the videos got up to 12,000 views in a few short hours. Some posters are very familiar with Lammers.
Retired Staff Sargent Matt Lammers, husband and Father of 6 children, is a double purple heart recipient, and a Triple Amputee. During his first amputee surgery, he lost so much blood he could not have any pain medicine. He was awake. He can remember everything. Until recently Matt Lammers swam 3 miles a day. He has won awards as a triple amputee swimmer.
On July 9th 2017 he was feeling isolated, attacked, and in pain.
It started early that morning.
Former Army Staff Sargent Matter Lammers told Big League Politics in an exclusive interview that he had pressed the call button for his nurse at 6:30 AM and that it was not until 11:30AM that he received the pain medication he needed. The pain medication was prescribed: As Needed.
Mr. Lammers is being treated at Tuscon Medical Center for bladder issues, and has an infection from a catheter. He also has chronic pain, longstanding sleep disorders and bowel issues from combat wounds and amputations. But the pain was not his only concern.
What was also upsetting to Matt that morning, was that his wheelchair was unreachable. All he could do was wait for his nurse, text his wife and post on social media. Mrs. Alicia Lammers, Mr. Lammers’ caregiver, told BLP that she had received a text from her husband around 9:00 AM July 9th, complaining that he needed pain meds and that his chair was too far away for him to retrieve. She said she called twice to the nurse’s stations that morning to request the pain medicines be given and that the Wheelchair be moved closer to Matt. Neither happened.
Mrs. Lammers went to the hospital to be with her husband and at 10:30 asked again for the pain medication, however it was not until 11:30 that the request was honored.
Mrs. Lammers went on, into much detail about how her life as her husband’s caregiver with BLP. “I would always care for him, but I am frustrated. Our Medical Institutions are not listening to our Veterans. They deserve the same good care as everyone else. They know their bodies. Not everything is about PTSD”, she said.
The couple acknowledge that PTSD is something they need their medical providers to be aware of, but not to the denial of other medical issues. This was their major problem with their care at the VA in Tucson
Mr. Lammers was turned away for months over his bladder issues by the Tuscon VA, being told that his symptoms were PTSD related and there was nothing else that could be done for him. The couple attempted to get attention and three different hospitals, complaining of pain and up to 35 mins for Mr. Lammers to empty his bladder when he felt his bladder was full.
After numerous Emergency Room visits, the Lammers were told that it would be fitting for them to get to the Mayo Clinic, but that is a cost they would have to absorb themselves, and they can not afford that. They felt sort of trapped into bad care at the VA who refused to run tests on his bladder.
But the problems with the VA didn’t start with the bladder. Mr. Lammers didn’t feel like he was getting good care at the VA at all, and he told BLP that the day that his Doctor told him that he had to choose between Sleep and pain Medication, he felt very hopeless and wanted to give up. “I lost 3 dozen friends in combat and I have lost 4 dozen friends to suicide. It seems to me they kill themselves after their VA appointments”.
Preventing Veterans Suicide is on the minds of many people. Preventing Matt’s Suicide is a reason many people are reacting to this story. Matt says he does not feel depressed or suicidal right now. Mostly because he wants to be around for his children, but he also wants to help other Veterans. Having people respond to his Facebook Posts has helped him feel like people care.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MAKE THIS GO VIRAL?
- On July 9th 2017 Matt Lammers posts on Facebook that his wheelchair is across the room, that he is in pain, that the hospital staff is not responding to his call button.
- Tull sees these posts and calls Tucson Medical Center. He is told that Mr. Lammers is being treated and has company, and that the conversation is over.
Lammers has his room phone removed, and is told by hospital Vice President, the Charge Nurse and two armed security that he must remove his Facebook posts or he will have his cell phone removed. He is told that he has Violated the HIPPA Act.
- Feeling isolated and threatened, Mr. Lammers complies and removes the Facebook posts.
- Veterans from different groups go to the hospital to inquire about Mr. Lammers treatment, and make more recordings. Numerous complaints and phone calls are made to the Medical Center. The Videos and posted discussion goes Viral on social Media. https://www.facebook.com/louie.prepper/videos/1906219629619772/?autoplay_reason=ugc_default_allowed&video_container_type=4&video_creator_product_type=0&app_id=350685531728&live_video_guests=0
All of this unfolded on Facebook.
When asked what he would like to tell President Trump for helping to improve the quality of Veteran care from his perspective he replied, “Sir , it would help if the Medical Staff at the VA could be sued for Malpractice. They don’t even know our names sometimes. It really seems like they do not care about us.”
When asked what she would like to tell President Trump about what can be done to help Veterans and their Caregivers, Mrs. Lammers replied, “Sir we need to respect our Veterans more”.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Lammers feel the Medical Doctors at Tuscon Medical are good. They are happy with their doctors there, and they do not want to get any nurses in trouble. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lammers were surprised at the outpouring of support their story got and at the attention they received. Matt says that he needed to vent that morning, which is why he turned to FaceBook. He felt like no one cared. He didn’t feel like anyone was listening to him. He turned to Facebook after numerous attempts to talk to a nurse in person was rejected. He is angry that Security Guards came and threatened him to remove his posts after the Hospital received complaints.
Many people online reacted to the Hospital with frustration and they expressed anger that a Veteran was being ignored by hospital staff. The Hospital has yet to apologize for removing Mr. Lammers phones.
“I want to say thank you for caring” Matt told BLP. The hardest thing for him that happened all day was that his 1st Amendment Rights were taken from him when his phone was removed. But he knows he has friends and fellow Veterans who have pledged to remain near him at the hospital.
Mr. Kristopher Trull tells BLP that he understands why Veterans are coming out to show support to Mr.Lemmers, “because we feel a strong duty to help each other. To care for each other”. Asked if this can be somewhat of an unfair burden for Veterans volunteers to be the caretakers of other Veterans, he said “no. Not always. It’s not that we wouldn’t do it, but it would be nice to get some help”.
And really, isn’t that a discussion we should all be having? How can we help? We need a very powerful National discussion on the quality care of all Americans, especially after Obamacare has destroyed so many of our resources.
The story of Medical care in the USA is a mess. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to fix. We just need to start talking to each other.
There is a man in a hospital in Tuscon, who believes it is his continued service to America to help solve this medical problem for others. Someone should talk to him and his wife.
If the VA is not equipped to help our veterans, is privatization the answer? Are hospitals and Medical Centers trained for the emotional needs of Veterans who may also suffer from PTSD? Are our hospitals experiencing cuts that cause staff to be stressed and unable to address patient needs?
Former Army Staff Sargent Matt Lammers may not have two of his legs and one of his arms. And he may suffer from brain injuries that make him a little confused at times, but he can tell you what he has experienced, and if you send him someone who can ask the right questions- you may be able to heal America and help heal him.
Statements by the hospital have been made on their Facebook page, after numerous complaints, that they are looking into the matter. However, calls from BLP were not returned.
We want you to keep the conversation going. If you could talk to President Trump or anyone on the Armed Forces Committees what would you tell them. How would you improve VA care? Please forward this and comment below.