No matter where the road takes us, the one well travelled or the one full of pitfalls, trials and tribulations, we are going forward.
No matter the emotions involved, the facts from us or the spin from the VA, a young 35 year combat Marine with mental health challenges should not die while in VA care. Hank Lee had every right to be kept from “hurting himself or others” and that is why he was in lockdown. He sure as hell did not expect to die of an accidental overdose after being in that facility for 4 weeks.
Statements like “he was a victim on the opioid epidemic” do not pass the smell test especially when according to them (the VA) “he did not have had any access to opioids”.
It takes a whole village/community to treat those with mental health challenges as a result of combat service and it does not take a phd. to realise that 10+ years of prescription drugs is not the answer.
To impact change we need media support – sad as it is – but we know that they will not change protocols because we ask them or because his widows asks them. It will start with awareness which is where you come in, then education on changes that can be made and then action by those in positions of power.
35 years olds should not die, widows and orphans should not be made, because of an uncaring system with no accountability.