The wife of a deceased Marine veteran wants answers as to how her husband managed to overdose while in the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
After Marine Corps veteran Hank Brandon Lee overdosed on the synthetic painkiller drug fentanyl and was found unresponsive, the Brockton VA medical center called Jamie-Lee Hasted, Lee’s Widow, and informed her of the disastrous news on March 4.
Lee, the father of three kids, was staying at the facility’s psychiatric unit due to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The VA has no idea how he acquired the fentanyl, but for Jamie-Lee Hasted, Lee’s widow, that answer simply isn’t good enough, The Enterprise reports.
“They promised me this wouldn’t happen. I understand the issue, but he was on lockdown, and they’re supposed to protect him from harming others and from harming himself,” Hasted told The Enterprise on Saturday. “They made me believe that’s what they were going to do, and they didn’t.”
Hasted also told The Boston Herald that she has no idea if Lee took the drug willingly or unwillingly. She also wonders whether the fentantyl was somehow mixed into his medicine.
“You have video cameras, where is the video?” Hasted asked of the VA. “What happened? Let me try to get some type of closure.”
A VA spokesperson told The Enterprise that the department has no clue how Lee obtained the drugs.
“Sadly, Lance Cpl. Lee was a victim of the opioid epidemic that kills nearly six people daily in Massachusetts,” Pallas Wahl said. “Lance Cpl. Lee suffered a fatal overdose of fentanyl while a patient at the Brockton campus. Fentanyl was not prescribed to any patient within our inpatient psychiatry unit, and Lance Cpl. Lee had no personal visitors during his inpatient psychiatry stay.”
Lee had a history of substance abuse issues and suffered from PTSD. He served a total of seven tours in Afghanistan and was left with a disability rating of 100 percent after coming into contact with an improvised explosive device.
On March 4, Lee was under lockdown at the VA. On his final check, he was determined to be “fine,” but was later discovered unresponsive. Lee had apparently been searched twice, but hospital staff did not find any substances on him.
Currently, Vets 360 founder Rick Collins is working with Hasted to find out exactly what happened. Although the VA has already conducted a review of the incident, it has not been released due to federal law.
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