Federal officials are currently investigating the suicide of 76-year-old Peter A. Kaisen. Kaisen shot himself in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had previously been a patient. He was pronounced dead on Sunday, and was apparently alone at the time of death, according to Lt. Kevin Beyrer, a Suffolk County detective.
The cause for suicide is currently unknown, though officials at the hospital told the Times that Kaisen had been denied treatment in the ER for mental health problems. Rather than referring him to their mental health building, which was open 24 hours a day, or contacting an on-call psychiatrist, they simply sent him away.
Kaisen then went to his car, and fatally shot himself.
“Someone dropped the ball,” one employee said. “They should not have turned him away.”
One spokesperson for the hospital was quoted stating, “[There] was no indication that he presented to the E.R. prior to the incident.”
“The employees here at Northport feel this loss deeply and extend their thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by this tragedy.”
It is not yet clear if any formal record was made of Kaisen’s visit to the ER.
The Northport Hospital has come under scrutiny before. The hospital had closed all of its operating rooms in May after sand-sized black particles began to fall from the air ducts. The Veterans Affairs medical system has also been investigated over the last two years, since the department confirmed that patients had died while waiting for treatment in Phoenix’s V.A. hospital system. Officials in Arizona reportedly removed over 1,700 patients from wait lists in order to cover up the wait times.
As the suicide took place on federal property, the FBI is currently heading the investigation.
Mr. Kaisen’s family has declined to comment to any news source at this time.