Government investigating local vet's death in standoff - KCTV5

Government investigating local vet's death in standoff

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A U.S. veteran killed in a standoff with local police now has a U.S. congressman digging for answers in his tragic case.

What U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican representing Kansas' 3rd Congressional District, and Sgt. Issac Sims' family want to know is if the notoriously troubled healthcare system in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs contributed to the young man's death.

"What's really sad is that I'm wondering how many more have gone before us that we don't know about," said Patricia Sims, Issac's mother.

Patricia Sims said the Kansas City VA Medical Center was slow to treat her son for his chronic medical issues related to his service. She believes that is what led to his death and is happy to hear that Yoder is calling for a full review.

"Of course he's still with us in spirit, but this is all that remains," she said.

It's been four weeks since Issac Sims was killed in a standoff after pointing an AK-47 at police officers. The events unfolded during Memorial Day weekend, days after Issac Sims' mother said the Kansas City VA told her they didn't have a bed for her son, who suffered from brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I'm honored, I'm delighted, I'm so thankful that anybody could pay attention, especially somebody with the power to do something about it," Patricia Sims said of Yoder's decision to investigate.

Issac Sims' tragedy was difficult to ignore. He was one of thousands of claims alleging slow or substandard care at VA hospitals across the country. After his death, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said the Kansas City VA admitted to having an unauthorized waiting list. That prompted Yoder to contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs about Issac Sims' case.

The DVA said in a letter to Yoder that it initiated a review and will provide the results of it when it is completed.

Patricia Sims said she was not surprised about the alleged waiting list at the Kansas City VA.

"It really didn't surprise me because there are a lot of things going on that people aren't aware of. You know, you could go up there and talk to the people that work there and find out a lot," she said.

Patricia Sims is hoping that her son's death will lead to changes in how veterans are treated at VA hospitals.

"I just wish that the money that is allotted would go to the places that it's needed. More beds should be made available for people that need treatment," she said.

Patricia Sims said she received letters from the VA and the military which said they're working to make changes.

The Kansas City VA Medical Center denies it had a secret waiting list despite Blunt's claim. According to the most recent audit from the VA nationwide, more than 56,000 veterans were waiting more than 90 days for their initial appointment.

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