A Vet’s Suicide Pushes The VA To Do Better
Sgt. John Toombs took his life on the campus of the Murfreesboro VA, the same day he was abruptly kicked out of the VA residential drug program for being late to take his meds. He lingered around the grounds that night, writing letters to his father and others. John hanged himself at the construction site of what is now the new Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility.
David Toombs is now suing the VA and those involved to call to attention their callous disregard for for his son’s safety. David says the program director did not follow the VA’s own rules for cases like John’s and should have known John was a high risk for suicide.
Three of Tennessee’s Veterans Affairs hospitals were ranked among the worst (one out of five stars) in the entire network of 150 hospitals, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. A town hall was hosted at noon on a weekday in July, 2018, to hear concerns from local veterans served by the Tennessee Valley Healthcare system.
David Toombs received the contents of his son’s pockets in individually sealed pouches along with the personal items found in his car and what he was wearing at the time of his death. The misspelling of John’s name however, led to a delay in the release of his body and belongings to his family.
John told his father he didn't need much in the next life. So he asked him to keep his ashes in a coffee container with a couple of cigarettes, and a couple of extra bucks to buy more smokes.