VA 'Lying About Vet Suicides'

It's 12,000 attempts a year, not 790, says secret email
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 3:09 AM CDT
U.S. Sen Patty Murray, D-Wash., a senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has called for the resignation of the Veterans' Administration's mental health chief.   (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
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(Newser) – A Democratic senator is calling for the resignation of the Veterans Administration mental health chief, accusing him of deliberately hiding the truth about suicide attempts among US veterans, the Dallas Morning News reports. A secret agency email put the number of suicide attempts at 12,000 a year—not the 790 the VA officially reported, according to court documents released in a lawsuit by two veterans groups.

"Shh! Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see in our medical facilities," states the email from mental health chief Dr. Ira Katz. Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, slammed the VA for withholding information that was needed to help it do its job.