A manager at a Veterans Affairs clinic used her government-supplied email to amuse her staff by making fun of the mental health issues and suicides of veterans.
Robin Paul of the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis sent the email on Dec 18 that depicts an elf in one photo begging for the pain drug Xanax and in another hanging himself from an electrical wire, according to the Indianapolis Star.
More disturbing is that Paul manages the hospital’s Seamless Transition Integrated Care Clinic that deals with the mental health and readjustment issues of returning veterans.
When the Star contacted her for comment she said “oh please” and referred the reporter to the public relations department that in turn emailed the paper a statement.
I would like to sincerely apologize for the email message and I take full responsibility for this poor judgment,” Paul said. “I have put my heart and soul into my work with Veterans for many years. I hold all Veterans and military personnel in the highest regard and am deeply remorseful for any hurt this may have caused.”
Roudebush spokeswoman Julie Webb told the Star hospital officials knew about the email “a couple of months ago.”
“The email is totally inappropriate and does not convey our commitment to veterans,” Webb said. “We apologize to our veterans and take suicide and mental health treatment seriously, striving to provide the highest quality.”
She added that the situation was addressed but did not give specifics on what action, if any, was taken, citing employee confidentiality.
The local American Legion chapter expressed outrage at the emails.
“It is a slap in the face to our recent and past veterans suffering from mental health issues every single day,” Commander of the Indiana Department of the American Legion, Ken Hylton said.
”These men and women went to war and do not deserve this type of ridicule. This is a disgusting display of mockery. This is supposedly someone who is caring for our veterans, and we in the Indiana American Legion are disgusted.”
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