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VA interviews veteran’s father

Fri., July 25, 2008

Son hanged himself after hospital visit

The father of Lucas Senescall, the 26-year-old Navy veteran who killed himself hours after visiting the Spokane Veterans Affairs Medical Center, was questioned by VA medical inspectors Thursday.

Senescall’s death July 7 was the sixth suicide this year among veterans who had had contact with the Spokane VA, a marked increase over the two suicides in each of the previous two years.

On Thursday, his father, Steve Senescall, was interviewed by two officials with the VA Office of the Medical Inspector – Patricia D. Murray, director of clinical investigations, and Yuri N. Walker, clinical program manager.

The interview at the Spokane VA center, which lasted about 30 minutes, was closed to a reporter whom Senescall had invited to attend.

Later, Senescall said the inspectors offered their condolences but admitted that they had not read his son’s medical records.

“They never referred to him by his name,” Senescall said of the VA inspectors. “I told them, ‘My son’s name is Luke Senescall. When you’ve read the report, call me up and we’ll have a conversation.’ ”

Senescall said he was questioned about what transpired on the day he took his distraught son to Spokane VA’s behavioral health division. Lucas Senescall, who had a history of mental illness, was seen by a VA psychiatrist who made an appointment for the veteran to come back to the hospital in two weeks.

The veteran hanged himself in his garage about two hours later.

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