It was a painful Memorial Day weekend for the Sims family.
Their son, an Iraq War veteran, was killed during a police standoff. The family said he turned to the Kansas City VA Medical Center for help, only to get turned away.
Sgt. Isaac Shawn Sims, 26, was the pride and joy of his family. He was a third generation Army veteran who served with the 82 Airborne. His family says the Army was his life, but that life came at a price.
"An eardrum had been blown out and he has 80 percent disability from brain injuries," said Patricia Sims, Isaac's mother.
The physical wounds he received in Iraq only tell part of the story, according to his parents. Isaac Sims suffered from severe depression, migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder, all from seeing his friends and comrades die in combat.
"He had to pick up body parts, he had to move forward as if nothing happened," Patricia Sims said.
His mother said her son recently drove around Kansas City in this hummer believing he was back on the battlefield. His mother rode shotgun.
"And saying ‘this is how we look for IEDs mama. This is what we do. Round and round.' Then he'd show me on YouTube the videos of an IED exploding," Patricia Sims said.
Frustrated and frightened, his parents pleaded to the VA for help.
"We've been saying 'he's got a problem, there are issues going on, he's not normal," his mother said.
They said the pleas fell on deaf ears. While the hospital gave Isaac Sims medicine for his chronic migraines, his parents said they didn't move quickly enough to get him admitted.
"They said ‘we don't have room for you.' ‘Your problem is not big enough.' ‘You'll have to wait.' ‘Get in line.' ‘We'll give him treatment in 30 days if a bed comes available,'" Patricia Sims said.
That was last week, before the tragedy that happened Sunday. Sims was involved in a standoff with Kansas City police that lasted several hours.
Police said he pointed an A-K 47 at officers, forcing them to shoot and kill him.
His parents believe this would've been avoided if Sims received timely treatment from the VA.
"I know it would've. I know it would've. It would never have gotten this out of hand," Patricia Sims said.
The family said they hope their loss will change how things are done at the Kansas City VA.
"They let him fall through the cracks and he's dead now because of it," Patricia Sims said.
The Kansas City VA Medical Center released a statement about Isaac Sims' death:
"We are aware of this tragic situation and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this very difficult time. We are unable to comment on an ongoing police investigation or on care provided to a particular Veteran. However, we want to encourage any Veteran (or their family member) who has questions or concerns about the attention or services they are receiving to contact the Kansas City VA Medical Center Director's Office."
A memorial fund has been set up to help the Sims family pay for funeral costs. Those wishing to help can make donations at any United Credit Union:
Rt # 301089047Acct. # 19351
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 22:43:54 GMT
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