Retired Staff Sergeant Matt Lammers is a double purple heart recipient, and a triple amputee. He has won awards in swimming competitions in spite of being a triple amputee. He has shared with Big League Politics his horrific story of mistreatment from a hospital where he sought treatment for his various illnesses.
Lammers went to the Tuscon Medical Center for bladder issues, and also had an infection from a catheter. He also suffered from chronic pain, longstanding sleep disorders, and bowel issues from combat wounds and amputations. But he did not only suffer from the physical pain of his illnesses but was also hurt by the negligence and mistreatment of medical staff.
He narrated what he went through on July 9 in the medical center. He said that his wheelchair was unreachable that morning of said date, and he could not move to get his pain relievers. He was waiting for his nurse, was on social media and sent a text message to his wife about his predicament. His wife called the center’s nurse stations twice to request that her husband is given the medicines he needs, and his wheelchair is moved close to him. Neither happened.
Mrs. Lammers then decided to go to the hospital at 10:30, and requested again for the medicine for her husband. It took the staff another full hour just to give the medicine.
Lammers has also turned away for months over his bladder issues by the Tuscon VA, arguing that his symptoms were PTSD related and there was nothing else that can be done for him. The Lammers couple attempted to get attention from three different hospitals. After numerous Emergency Room visits, the Lammers were informed that they should instead go to the Mayo Clinic, but it is beyond what they could afford. They felt they have no choice but be trapped into bad care at the VA which refused to run tests on his bladder.
Lammers lamented that it was not just the bladder issue. He felt like he was not getting good care at the VA at all, at once he was even told to choose between sleep and pain medication. Lammers shared how hopeless they made him feel to the point of giving up. He said: “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.
Americans care about preventing suicides for veterans. Lammers story gained much attention and support. His story also went viral because people care about him not committing suicide. Lammers said he is not depressed or suicidal at present. He wants to continue fighting for his life and health, to be around his children and also to help other veterans.
His story went viral when he posted on social media on July 9 that he could not reach his wheelchair just across the room and he is not being attended to. Tucson Medical Center was informed of his situation and his posts. Lammers’ room phone was removed and then was told by hospital vice president, charge nurse, and two armed security that he must remove his Facebook posts or his cell phone will be removed, too. He was accused of violating the HIPPA Act. He had no choice but to comply.
Lammers shared his sentiments after his bad experience at the medical center. He said: “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.”
Lammers also want to seek the help of President Donald Trump so that veterans like him would be given more respect. Since the campaign, Trump has been vocal how he wants reforms to be implemented at the VA office and has always spoken of the need to take better care of our veterans whom he considers as heroes.