Iowa City VA not responsible in veteran's suicide

The Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (Brian Ray/The Gazette/KCRG-TV9)
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says the Iowa City VA Hospital was not responsible for an Iowa veteran committing suicide.

Brandon Ketchum killed himself in July of last year, a day after his doctor denied him admission into the psychiatric unit - citing it didn't have any openings and his symptoms could be managed in outpatient care.

Ketchum was from Davenport and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had received treatment for addiction and post traumatic stress disorder.

The office of the inspector general's report found the doctor tried to re-engage Ketchum after he stormed out of a session and the patient had access to more mental health treatments that he didn't take advantage of.

But the report did say the VA should improve how it follows up with patients who don't show up for appointments and update treatment plans when patients' symptoms change.

Iowa politicians had asked for the investigation into Ketchum's death.
Thursday, Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley as well as Congressman Dave Loebsack released a joint statement.

It says in part, "This case is a tragic example of why we must do better for our veterans. It also illustrates the importance of having independent watchdogs at federal agencies."