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Navy veteran begs VA: Please don't starve me to death

Navy vet being starved to death by VA inaction
Navy vet being starved to death by VA inaction
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Joe Geoghagan, a 31-year-old Navy veteran who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, now suffers from PTSD and has to be fed through a feeding tube because he is unable to keep food down. Making matters worse, John Hawkins wrote Tuesday at Right Wing News, the VA has told Geoghagan that his stomach issues are not related to his military service and as a result, have stopped paying for his equipment and supplies.

According to Hawkins, Geoghagan recounted a horror story involving the snubs, red tape, and frustration of dealing with the VA for the last few years.

His problems began in 2008, after being discharged from the service. Hawkins said Geoghagan developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder during his service, but he didn't know it until much later. Initially, he was told by a VA doctor there was nothing wrong after a cursory 10-minute interview.

His situation deteriorated to the point that he began suffering nausea and vomiting which only got worse. He was fired from his job as a military contractor as a result of his sickness and frequent vomiting, and his fiance left him, apparently unable to cope with the changes she saw in him. His depression deepened to the point that he even tried to kill himself.

He went to the VA in Washington state and received treatment. For a while, Hawkins said, things began to look up for Geoghagan. That changed, however, when he moved to Alabama.

After moving, his problem only got worse. His vomiting increased to the point he could no longer keep food down.

"Even liquid nutrition like Boost shakes were quickly regurgitated," Hawkins said.

The VA in Alabama apparently didn't take the matter serious, and, Hawkins added, no one has been able to determine the cause of his vomiting.

Eventually, a doctor cut a hole in Geoghagan's stomach and inserted a tube. That tube permits Geoghagan to feed himself Boost shakes, but the process takes 13 hours every day.

And, it seems the process really isn't helping much. When he was in the Navy, Geoghagan weighed 220 pounds. Now, he weighs all of 130 pounds and is so weak he has had to move back with his parents.

"How much more weight can Joe lose and stay alive?" Hawkins asked. "Joe even told me that his poor mother said that she feels Joe is going to 'die at home, slowly and wither away while they just take their sweet time keeping me in the red tape.'”

Geoghagan got so desperate he reached out to Hawkins at his Facebook page asking for help.

Adding insult to injury, the 31-year-old Navy veteran said the VA has decided to wash its hands of him.

"I just got my ratings decision in the mail from the VA dated the 24th of June this year. …They say that my stomach issues….are not related to my military (service)," he told Hawkins.

The VA also said it will no longer pay for the pump and the supplies he needs to feed himself, essentially sentencing him to death by starvation.

"So to summarize," he told Hawkins, "they’re not going to pay me and now they’re going to stop providing me nutrition."

"At what point am I supposed to stop worrying about random seizures, internal systems are starting to shut down and things that are serious," he told WTVM earlier in June. "I mean I'm seriously scared but I don't know what I can do."

Hawkins expressed hope someone reading about Geoghagan could find a way to save his life.

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