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Military & Veterans' Issues

Veteran’s Family Sues VA For Allegedly Misdiagnosing Suicide

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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TEMPLE — The family of a Central Texas veteran who committed suicide is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming a VA hospital should have involuntarily held him for treatment.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that a March 12 lawsuit alleges Kevin Lee Hartbarger committed suicide in 2012 hours after seeking help at the Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple.

The complaint alleges staffers at the hospital failed to “timely diagnose suicidal behavior and obtain involuntary hold to allow for treatment” through a court order.

The lawsuit says Hartberger was being treated for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Hartbarger’s widow and two surviving daughters are seeking a total of $10 million in the suit.

Hartberger’s family declined the newspaper’s interview request. VA officials did not immediately comment.