Brandon Ketchum, 33, killed himself after the the Iowa City VA Medical Center on July 7th, refused to give him the help he needed with his mental illness and PTSD. Ketchum made an emergency appointment at the VA in an attempt to get himself admitted into the mental facility due to depression, PTSD and an addiction to drugs. Ketchum had served three tours of duty, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as a Marine combat engineer.
After he was refused help, Ketchum wrote the following on social media:
“I requested that I get admitted to 9W (psychiatric ward) and get things straightened out. I truly felt my safety and health were in jeopardy, as I discussed with the doc. Not only did I get a ‘NO’, but three reasons of no based on me being not f***** up enough. At this point I say, ‘why even try anymore?’ They gave up on me, so why shouldn’t I give up on myself? Right now, that is the only viable option given my circumstances and frame of mind.”
Brandon’s girlfriend, Kristine Nichols said that he had been having a hard time coping with PTSD and his substance abuse and addiction got worse as he first used painkillers but then moved to heroin.
According to Nichols, Brandon visited the same psychiatrist that he had been seeing for over a year.
“It wasn’t like a new person. He (the psychiatrist) knows Brandon’s history, he knew he was flagged for suicide with the VA,” Nichols told WKOW. “At least two occasions in the past three years he’s been flagged for suicide.”
While serving, he had been through several explosions and ended up with Traumatic Brain Injuries(TBI’s) and concussions.
Jamie Johnson, the public affairs officer for the Iowa City VA Medical Center sent an email to WKOW, informing them that there were empty beds available for Ketchum:
“Generally speaking, I can tell you that we do not have a wait list for beds. If we have openings and a patient requires admission they are admitted. If a patient requires admission and we do not have beds available at our facility, we would find them a bed at another facility.”
Ketchum never let his country down but his country let him down.