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The family of Marine Sgt. Brandon Ketchum, 33, is asking why a VA doctor in Iowa City did not admit him to a psychiatric ward when he requested care. With his request denied, Ketchum committed suicide last Friday.
“He had relapsed and was abusing drugs and he just was in a bad place,” Ketchum’s girlfriend Kristine Nichols told WKOW News. She was beside him as he struggled with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for years, following two tours in Iraq with the Marines, and a deployment to Afghanistan with the Iowa National Guard.
Beverly - Kittoe - Brother - Brad - Iraq
According to mom Beverly Kittoe and his brother Brad, who also served in Iraq, Brandon’s duty clearing roadside explosives as a Marine engineer in Iraq took a heavy toll on him. By his own count, he survived five “hard hits,” or explosions, in Iraq and was injured during another bomb blast during his tour in Afghanistan.
“And you know, after so many hits, how much of that can you take? So he ended up with TBIs, traumatic brain injuries, and concussions,” his mother said. Ketchum nevertheless joined the Army National Guard after four years with the Marines and was eventually sent to Afghanistan.
Drug - Problem - Painkillers - Surgery - Writings
His drug problem began with the painkillers he was given after surgery. According to his writings, he was still experiencing considerable pain but wanted to get away from prescription drugs, having nearly died from an overdose in 2015.
According to Kristine Nichols, Ketchum asked her if she thought he should seek inpatient treatment last Thursday, and she said yes if he felt it was necessary. He then went to the Iowa City VA Medical Center and asked for admission to the psychiatric ward because he was dealing with “serious mental issues.”
Family - VA - Psychiatrist - Ketchum - Year
The family is asking why the VA psychiatrist, who had been working with Ketchum for over a year, refused to admit...
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