It was just another Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island — until everything went south.
A 76-year-old veteran, who was leaving the VA medical center, committed suicide right in his car.
Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.
Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health. “He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
The hospital is part of the Veterans Affairs medical system, the nation’s largest integrated health care organization, which has been under scrutiny since 2014, when the department confirmed that numerous patients had died awaiting treatment at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix. Officials there had tried to cover up long waiting times for 1,700 veterans seeking medical care.
“Someone dropped the ball,” the worker said. “They should not have turned him away.”
Donald Trump has been adamant about fixing the VA, even saying that he’ll fix the problems himself: “I will instruct my staff that if a valid complaint is not addressed, that the issue be brought directly to me,” Trump said. “And I will pick up the phone and fix it myself if I have to.”