PURPLE HEART VETERAN DIES LIKE A DOG IN VA PARKING
LOT AS SON BEGS VA FOR HELP; FAMILY CHARGES
VA WITH MALPRACTICE, RECORD MANIPULATION & DESTRUCTION AND FLAT OUT COVER-UP
By Patricia Axelrod@2014
1) Veteran Lawrence
Sinnin died of complications of heart
disease after the James Lovell Federal
Health Care Facility refused appropriate and timely Emergency Room care by denying
him access to the ER for approximately
20 minutes; during which time Mr. Sinnin ceased breathing on his own even as his
son, Terrell Green, pleaded with the facility to treat his father. Lawrence died a victim of the reckless institutional negligence typical of the VA. The James Lovell Federal Health Care Facility
is a joint Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs facility serving active and
2) Thereafter the
facility manipulated the medical record reflective of the death and destroyed
video evidence of the event.
Here are the details surrounding the facts"
April 28, at about 10:05 AM Tarrell Green drove his sick and groaning
father Lawrence Sinnin from Wauken, IL.to the James Lovell Health Care Facility. Lawrence, who then resided in Waukegan was a
Vietnam Veteran and a Purple Heart recipient who had routinely sought care at
the VA which was only 5 minutes away from his residence.
Terrell pulled up to the Valet and asked the Valet for
Valet said he couldn't help. Referring Tarrell to the Emergency Room
receptionist the Valet offered to watch Lawrence while Terrell went into
the building to seek assistance. Terrell
presented to the receptionist and
asked for help whereupon she "went to the back" says Terrell. Time was
squandered as Terrell waited for the receptionist who finally came
out to instruct Terrell to as he said
to "drive his Father around the back to the ambulance bay". Terrell did so where he encountered two
ambulance attendants and asked them to help his Father.
The ambulance attendants instructed Tarrell as he reported "to
move his car" away from the bay and wait for help. Tarrell did so and waited for ER personnel to
respond. Minutes passed and ER personnel
failed to appear whereupon Terrell again went to the attendants to plead with
them to get help for his Father. Finally
the attendants called the ER and ER personnel appeared with a wheel-chair and
brought Lawrence Sinnin into the ER. The
time was then about 10:25 AM and Lawrence was non-responsive and not breathing
on his own. The CPR team was called at
10:45 and arrived at 10:50. Lawrence
Sinnin was declared dead at 11:10.
Son Terrell Green requested an autopsy and was led to believe that one would
be performed. The VA did not did not
follow through and an autopsy was not conducted.
Pathologist, Dr. Jon Minarcik believes an autopsy would show
that Lawrence Sinnin died of "acute coronary thrombosis" a condition in
which timely care makes the difference between life and death. "Minutes count here and rapid medical
response can save a patient's life ," says Dr. Minarcik. "That's why we have hospitals."
Adding insult to injury the VA took Lawrence Sinnin's corneas, stole his wedding ring and
glasses and then began to cover up their wrongdoing in a number of ways.
VA executives blamed Terrell Green for his Father's death and when that
didn't work the facility manipulated the medical records in an
attempt to exonerate them from wrong-doing.
Additionally, video evidence that
would verify the failure of the facility to treat Lawrence Sinnin in a
fashion disappeared; but this carefully orchestrated cover-up would be
discovered and overturned when Terrell Green recruited help dealing with
Working with veteran advocate Patricia Axelrod -- who chose to act undercover
presenting herself as a friend of the family - Tarrell Green requested and
received his Father's medical record and found that the record did not
accurately or truthfully record the facts of the matter. Specifically
the record stated that he had
driven with his dying father to the VA from about one hour away from
Kenosha, Wisconsin rather than from Wauken, IL. which is just five
minutes away and also that his father
was dead on arrival. Taking note of
video cameras surrounding the Emergency Room, at the Valet entrance just one
door over from the ER entrance and also at ambulance bays Axelrod and Tarrell
then filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding the matter
specifically requesting Emergency Room hospital regulations as well as all
audio or video film that might have captured the facility's April 28th
denial of care of Lawrence Sinnin. The
FOIAs were filed July 9th.
July 10, Acting Director of the facility, Captain Jose
Acosta, met with Axelrod and Tarrell
Green to say that the subject video had been destroyed. Axelrod replied that she would
bring this matter to the attention of the Senate Investigative team looking
into VA malfeasance whereupon Director Acosta pleaded with Axelrod and Tarrell
Green not to do so. And then a desperate
Acosta , his feet to the fire, signed a statement attesting to the destruction of the video and wrote an additional statement to the affect that in the absence of the
video he "believed Tarrell Green" regarding
the denial of VA appropriate and timely care of his
Investigation into the matter of the alleged disappearance of the
video film finds that the facility - which is a joint Department of Defense and
Veterans' Affairs facility - utilizes CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) at all entrances and surrounding the
facility and therefore falls under the requirements of Homeland Security for
preservation of CCTV records for six months. This is confirmed by review of
'Privacy Impact Assessment for the DHS CCTV Systems, DHS/ALL/PIA-042 , [dated]
July 18, 2012, (page 3, section 1.4. states the requirement preserve CCTV footage.) Informed
of this regulation Captain Acosta became visibly shaken and then
declared that he would need to consult with
his attorneys about the regulation. Since then Illinois Congressman
Brad Schneider has entered into the fray to request that the VA
release the film and other documents requested by Terrell Green. The VA
replied it will comply with FOIA law.
Terrell Green is contemplating suing the VA but finds the
process to be onerous at best. For those litigating against the VA are denied the same access
to the Court as is routinely available under the U S Constitution as litigants are denied trial by
jury . Rather they must submit to a six
month administrative process after which they may come before a Federal judge
should they choose to. "The VA fights every case tooth and nail and so cases drag on for years," said Cristobal Bonifaz, a Massachusetts attorney who has sued the VA. Compounding the difficulty
of suing the VA is the restriction of attorneys' fees resulting in payment most
lawyers would consider too little for too much work on behalf of Vietnam Veteran,
Purple Heart Recipient Lawrence Sinnin,
who died like an unloved dog in the parking lot of the VA hospital. Sadly, Lawrence Sinnin became one of the many who fought for America only to die on the VA battlefield.
About Patricia Axelrod and The Desert Storm Think Tank and
All Veterans' Advocate: Axelrod is a
long time professional veterans' advocate who has advocated on behalf of
countless veterans over the span of her career.
She is a past recipient of a 'Project
Censored' award as well as a
research and writing grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation . She can be reached at 775-412-5980 or paxelrod1675|AT|yahoo.comEmail address.
(Article changed on July 21, 2014 at 07:27)
I am the Director of the Desert Storm Think Tank and All Veterans Advocate as well as a not-for-profit law project conducted for the benefit of the poor called "The Peoples' Advocate." I am also an election activist and OPEDNEWS published my work (more...)