Mother Says VA Responsible for Son’s Suicide

Phoenix VA Health Care Center / AP


Janine Lutz says Veterans Affairs doctors are responsible for her son’s 2013 suicide.

Lutz’ son, Janos Victor "John" Lutz, was an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. John told his doctors at the VA that he was feeling suicidal, but he was still prescribed antidepressant benzodiazepines including Klonopin and temazepam, drugs usually not recommended for suicidal patients.

Janine does not think her son received proper care at the VA. Besides prescribing medication they should not have, there was also a lack of communication between John’s doctor and his psychiatrist.

"VA’s current protocol is not working," she told Military Times. "It’s failing. But they continue to do it. It’s killing these veterans."

Military Times reports:

The multitude of medications he received throughout his treatment, along with what the family believes is VA's disregard for tracking those medicines and VA doctors' lack of understanding of how certain drugs affected Lutz, led the family to issue a demand letter claiming wrongful death as a result of medical negligence — a precursor to filing a lawsuit, according to attorney John Uustal.

They will seek monetary damages of a sizable enough amount "that forces VA to change" the way it treats all veterans with PTSD, , Uustal said.

"If you look at the records, [Lutz] was never treated right, from the beginning. They never worked up for brain injury, they never did a proper treatment for PTS, they never involved the family. … Real treatment takes time and money and VA just has too many people to handle. Too many veterans who need too much care and not enough resources for them to handle," Uustal said.

After her son’s suicide, Janine Lutz started a foundation that raises awareness about PTSD and funds law enforcement programs for first-responders dealing with veterans.

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