30
Dec
07

98.The Human Factor Of Killing A Homeless Veteran

Dear Friends:

This excerpt came from the Iowa City, Iowa GazetteOnline. It is a quote from a local meeting on homelessness there, spurred on partially by the death of Sonny Anthony Iovino, a Homeless Vietnam Veteran that was killed by his community services. 

Crissy Canganelli, executive director for Shelter House said: “Unless we do something to address the need for universal health care coverage, we’re just going to be sticking Band-Aids on the hole,” she said to a group of about 40 in the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., that included homeless people living in Iowa City.  Oh Horse Crap!

Mr. Iovino did have health care in the form of the Veterans Administration Hospital in that community. As a mentally ill veteran he was covered by the VA. The break down in the matter, was those that were charged to serve Mr. Iovino and the community in this matter.

The fact that Social Services in the form of a social worker that decided she could not help him and did not help him, that the Sheriffs Dept who would not put him into a protective custody (had room in their jail both days of the preceding 48 and 24 hours before Mr. Iovino’s death according to their reports), that the police officers did not know where further to turn in this matter and just sent a mentally ill veteran in crisis up the street with a criminal trespass citation, a VA “psychiatrist” that could not deal with a schizophrenic, and that no one who knew him became involved is the problem as well.

The factor that is missing is the human factor is being overlooked. Universal Health Care is not going to be the issue here,  since any health care system is staffed by human beings. The fact that there were people every step of the way that aided in the death of this Homeless Vietnam Veteran should be closely looked at and investigated publicly. There were plenty of systems in place for Mr. Iovino that day, the only one that did not work was the HUMAN one, and that one failed multiple times in a single day, killing Mr. Iovino.

If you look at all of the issues and factors in the death of Mr. Iovino and what has been reported in the articles written by Jennifer Hemmingsen of the Gazette, as well as not said by in them, is a lot to be realized here.  The gist of most of these agencies are seeming to say it is Mr. Iovino’s fault for being mentally ill and refusing treatment, or that they do not deal with people that are mentally ill. I guess since the Sheriff’s Department does not accept anyone needing medical attention inside the jail there, everyone should have a letter from their doctor saying they are ill and need medical attention. Heck, that excuse might be able to be expanded to include everyone with a handicapped license plate and placard too! It would save the Sheriff of Johnson County, Iowa a lot of manpower and money and he can just close the jail house for good.

That the factor and issue is at those that were dealing with Mr. Iovino and caused him to perish. I feel terrible saying this, but how many Homeless Veterans have to die for the sake of training? The fact that those that are there to save, help and preserve life basically are taking lives by their actions should be strongly looked at. Personally to me, the fact that all involved and this whole incident is not under some sort of investigation is astounding. If this was Paris Hilton that this happened to and was found frozen to death under the bridge after ripping up the ground naked for two days, who’s social value at best is questionable, there would be hell to pay. 

But it was just an issue with a Mentally Ill Homeless Vietnam Veteran that the powers that be want to bury along with his body.

Wanderingvet

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3 Responses to “98.The Human Factor Of Killing A Homeless Veteran”


  1. 1 AnAmerican
    December 31, 2007 at 12:14 am

    There is a huge stigma surrounding mental illness and in fact until recently treatment for mental illness wasn’t universally covered by health insurance…there was just a law passed to assure that insurers allow coverage of mental health issues. Most lay people without medical training would not feel comfortale approaching a person like Mr. Iovino who was displaying agitation…and for good cause as acute schizophrenia can be dangerous.
    So..as you point out why didn’t the “professionals” at the VA recognize this veteran was in crisis? I think that the answer is quite simple…incompetence. What would have happened if this man went out and physically hurt someone while in crisis? I would bet that this would have been major news requiring investigation of the protocols for mentally ill within the VA system. There is a very important lesson to be learned for the VA here….if they will only care enough to learn from it.

  2. December 31, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    There are still many insurance policies out there that do not cover mental illness. There is still many people who do not understand mental illness. So as far as the human factor on the side of the cops, unfortunately they look at it as not their problem. As for the VA social workers, they are TRAINED in this particular field. They should know the signs and symptoms, and options. I know when I have been to the VA for my own care they have asked about my mental well being, maybe because I am not “clawing through mulch” or making “inappropriate comments” and so they know they won’t have to deal with it. The sad thing is the VA is the largest mental health provider in the nation, and yet the suicide rate for vets has risen, and now we have doctors turning patients away. Maybe if we can get enough attention brought to this matter, as was to the deplorable conditions at other VA’s, the VA will investigate.

  3. 3 Lori
    December 31, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Passing the buck is what these folks are doing. Nothing like a federal/state employee just waiting for their retirement to pass the responsibility on to the next federal/state employee!!! The only “human factor” displayed here is their OWN factor…Not Sonnys!!

    RIP Sonny…may you find peace where you are now.


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