Investigation underway at Lawton Ft. Sill Veterans Center

Investigation underway at Lawton Ft. Sill Veterans Center

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Over the last few days, posts have been circulating on social media about the Lawton Ft Sill Veterans Center.

A number of complaints, from a number of families, focusing on alleged negligent care, and inadequate staffing.

One son said he’s concerned for his father, with alzheimers, since he can’t interact face to face with him.

“Hes dropped over 20 pounds in the last 6-8 weeks, because he isn’t eating,” said Michael Henderhan.

Henderhan said he confronted the center, hoping they would have someone sit with his father and help him eat.

“To tell me it’s unrealistic for us to find a person that can sit with your dad and feed him everyday, that’s unacceptable,” said Henderhan.

Another complaint comes from a woman who learned her father was taken to the hospital, after having a stroke.

“We talked to the ambulance driver and he said they got the call at 12:41,” said Jody Maples. “Staff said they noticed the droopiness in his face at about 6:30 in shift change, but we waited six hours before calling an ambulance.”

Her frustration growing when they arrived at the ER.

“He stunk, his hair was caked together. His diaper was full of urine and feces. Every time we adjusted the bed he would scream in the pain. We looked at the back of neck, and it was covered in soars,” said Maples.

Much of this leads back to their concern over low staff numbers, or what they call poor training.

“It never would have gotten to this point, if they let us in, to help our loved ones,” said Maples.

Statement from the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

“On Monday, several images were posted on social media purporting to depict mistreatment of veterans in the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center.  Likewise, allegations were made in the same social media post claiming that the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center is inadequately staffed.  The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is unwavering in our commitment to our heroes in the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center, and we take all such claims very seriously.  These allegations are under investigation.  On the matter of staffing, without question, the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center has current vacancies for which we are actively recruiting, however, we applaud the efforts of the Veterans Center staff who are working longer and harder to ensure that the needs of our veterans are met.” 

Joint statement from local legislators - Sen. John Michael Montgomery, Sen. Chris Kidd, Rep. Trey Caldwell, R-Lawton; Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, Rep. Daniel Pae, and Rep. Rande Worthen,

“We take all allegations of veteran abuse and mistreatment at state facilities very seriously, and we appreciate the leadership of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs taking action to investigate and remedy the situation. We urge families to come forward with concerns of mistreatment as they are able. We encourage those families to be party to and maintain community committees that promote the welfare of their veteran residents at ODVA facilities. Further, we encourage any executive order relating to long-term care visitation to consider solutions to enable families to safely check upon the treatment of their loved ones in state facilities and other elder care facilities.”

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