Veteran’s suicide leads to lawsuit against the VA

The Harker Heights veteran’s family is suing the U.S. Veteran’s Administration for medical malpractice in connection with the suicide committed in 2012.

The family claims the veteran, Kevin Lee Hartbarger was wrongly released twice in 2012 from the Veteran’s Administration hospital with awareness of his suicidal tendencies. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court for the Western District of Texas.

The family believes the government owes them an excess of $1.5 million for their losses they suffered due to Hartbarger’s death.

The plaintiffs claim Hartbarger wanted help from the VA on July 1, 2012 and Aug. 1, 2012, according to the lawsuit petition. He was seeking help for his severe depression, PTSD and other things that put him at risk for committing suicide.

The petition claims Hartbarger would not have committed suicide if the VA would have admitted for inpatient treatment when he sought help.

The day after his second visit to the Central Texas VA office, Hartbarger hung himself on Aug. 2, 2012. The petition requests a jury trial for the case.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin on March 12. The case has currently not been set for pre-trial hearings according to federal court records.


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