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Army Widow Awarded $1.7 Million in Wrongful Death Suit Against VA

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by Fred Ganous

An Army widow who held the government accountable for her husband’s suicide was awarded $1.7 million to settle a wrongful death claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Army veteran Jason Moon contacted the South Bend Vet Center in Indiana in 2020, seeking care for mental health issues. He had served two tours as a medical evacuation crew member during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was suffering from nightmares and anxiety, along with other symptoms and behavioral issues, according to a complaint from his widow, LaShanda Moon.

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Lacking proper treatment, Moon took his own life that year at home, while with his wife and three of his five children also were in the home.

“LaShanda’s husband desperately sought treatment for his PTSD, but he was never adequately assessed, counseled or treated at the Vet Center,” the family’s attorney wrote on social media.

In a wrongful death claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs, LaShanda Moon claimed that her husband was placed in the care of an unlicensed intern, and was only given treatment over the phone. She also alleged that in order to hide their negligence, officials falsified documents after her husband died.

New leadership has since been been installed at the veterans center, officials said. The facility also has strengthened its surveillance and implementation of suicide risk assessment and follow-up procedures in conformity with national policies at centers nationwide.

“Moving forward, we will continue to work to ensure this does not happen again,” VA spokesman Terrence Hayes told a reporter. “There is nothing more critical to the VA than providing high-quality mental health care to veterans, especially veterans in crisis, whenever and wherever they need it. 

LaShanda Moon has emerged as an advocate for fellow soldiers who are at risk of suicide. She is primarily focused on raising awareness about PTSD and providing support to soldiers who are struggling with the aftermath of their service. 

“My husband was failed by a system that exists solely to support the men and women who have served our country,” LaShanda Moon said in a statement.

Fred Ganous is a combat veteran of the Iraq war and has spent his career in aviation. He writes frequently for Soldier of Fortune. His Death Angels logo, below, is known throughout the community.

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