From emails by Tracy Eiswert to reporter Art Levine, April 2015

:

I appreciate your interest into my story. My nightmare began on May 16, 2008 when my children
and I came home to find my husband (Scott Eiswert) an Iraq Veteran with a gunshot wound to
his head. I was told that Scott was a statistic, due to an over worked and under staffed VA
system in which thousands of veterans just like Scott had died. A statistic? In my opinion, harsh
words considering he was my husband, father to our children, a son to a father that would also
commit suicide soon after the loss of his son. The second part to that statement, I know to be true
from Scott’s own words of discouragement and lack of proper treatment provided to him by the
VA. I was also told that the VA was sorry and awarded me the very benefits that they had
continuously denied Scott while he was alive and fighting for them. An apology, an
acknowledgement of a system that was broken, and a monthly check is not sufficient when my
children do not have their father and I do not have my best friend! I would later learn of the
VA’s cover-up in the suicide rate of veterans; the mistreatment, improper treatment, and
downright malpractice of the VA and the thousands of soldiers that had died as a result. This was
6 years ago and as I keep up with the “Statistics” veterans are still committing suicide at a rate of
nearly 21 a day. This was according to “Statistics” in 2014.

To be honest my story begins in 2005 when Scott came home from the Iraq war. I knew that he
was different and something was terribly wrong. He was referred by his primary care physician
to the VA for treatment. Scott suffered from serve flash backs, insomnia, serve nightmares,
moodiness, isolation, job difficulties, he became depressed, angry, the numerous medications
prescribed by the VA had adverse affects, he started self medicating with alcohol, VA counseling
was not beneficial, and the continuous denial from the VA for PTSD only fueled the fire. The
VA physicians denied that Scott suffered from PTSD from 2005 to 2008 and did nothing to care
properly for his PTSD. Scott committed suicide as a result of this lack of care in 2008.
Therefore, I filed a lawsuit against them for malpractice that resulted in his death.

The Federal Torts Claims Act is the law that controls my lawsuit against the US for not taking
proper medical care of Scott.

This Act requires that my lawyer file a comprehensive complaint including opinion of experts
about the lack of care. Our expert is Dr. David A. Reigle. However, the US denied the claim. I
had six months to file in Court. I requested reconsideration from the US. The US by explicit
letter granted me six months for them to reconsider the claim. I waited for them to reconsider
the claim. A few months later they denied the claim again. So, I filed in Tennessee Court. The
US said then that I had filed in Tennessee Court too late because of Tennessee's statute of
repose. Now, my problem is that because I waited the 6 months as requested by the US I missed
some deadline. My Tennessee lawyer states that if he had known this he would have filed after
the first denial which would have been timely even under Tennessee's statute of repose. The US
moved to dismiss the claim. However, the judge refused to dismiss the claim.

The Federal Rules requires that when the US moved to dismiss they could not file another
motion to dismiss but this is exactly what they did. So, after the Judge denied their first motion
to dismiss the US re-filed their motion to dismiss this time arguing that my Tennessee lawyer
had forgotten to file one simple piece of paper stating that he never had any other case dismissed
on these grounds. My lawyer argued that the second motion to dismiss was inappropriate and
moved also to amend the complaint to add the missing piece of paper that my Tennessee lawyer
forgot. Remember my lawsuit falls under The Federal Torts Claims Act, The Federal Rules
allowed me to amend the case as much as I want. The Tennessee Court Judge Greer has ruled
now that I have no right to amend the case to include this missing document and that the entire
complaint has to be dismissed because my lawyer forgot to file with the court this piece of paper
stating the fact that he never had other complaints dismissed. So, I have appealed on two very
important grounds 1) Is the Federal Rules that allow me to amend my case trumped by the
Tennessee law that required the lawyer to file that simple piece of paper? Which is very
confusing to me because it seems as if that is what the courts are saying and since when do state
courts override federal rules? 2) did the US had the right to violate the Federal Rules and file a
second motion to dismiss on different grounds?

So, basically what the VA first tried to do is trick me into filing the complaint late by specifically
granting me six extra months to file. When that avenue did not work in total violation of the
Federal Rules the VA came out with another trick arguing that the Federal Rules of Procedure
are trumped by a very minor Tennessee statute.

According to my lawyers, the merits of my case are very similar to dozens of other cases in
which the VA failed to properly treat a veteran which resulted in that vets death. They cannot
argue my case on merit so they are trying tricks and tactics to win.

I find it morally unconscionable for the VA to argue against my case not on merit but on mere
minor technicality by my Tennessee lawyer not filing this 1 page document my case should just
go away. I want a chance to argue my case on merit not technicalities.

I apologize for the long rant but do appreciate the opportunity to speak my mind.
Best Regards,

Tracy Eiswert

******************************

The shenanigans began when Scott came home from the Iraq war and asked the VA for help. The
following is a timeline of events that ultimately led to his death.
 Released from Active duty November 23, 2005 when he returned home from war
- Stationed in Bernstein, Iraq but also frequented Mosul & Kirkuk
- MOS Combat Engineer, Route Clearance/Raids
 PCP Dr. Voung from HealthStar Physicians wrote on November 29, 2005 referral for
counseling
 Started mental health counseling at Nolachuckey Frontier Health on December 21, 2005 due
to failed attempts to be seen by a veteran counselor at the VA.
 PCP Dr. Voung wrote to employee (John Deere) on January 12, 2006 requesting that Scott be
allowed to change shifts due to PTSD symptoms. Employee declined to do so. Scott later quit
 Counselor Mr. Ray White from Nolachuckey wrote letter to VA on behalf of Scott on May 09,
2006 supporting PTSD diagnosis
 Scott filed 1st VA claim for PTSD approximately May 16, 2006. After numerous denial letters
from VA Scott committed suicide on May 16, 2008.
I have the following denial letters from VA
- Denial letter September 08, 2006 reasoning due to condition stressors were to vague to
verify
- Denial letter September 18, 2006
- Denial letter November 06, 2006 reasoning due to continue the decision based on receipt of
additional services treatment records showing NO complaint, treatment, or diagnosis of the
claimed condition
- Denial letter November 16, 2006
- Denial letter February 04, 2008 reasoning due to additional information concerning stressor
had not been provided. The claim lacked names, dates, places, etc…
Scott committed suicide 3 months later….
 Scott stated that he had been attempting to get counseling via the VA but was unable to due to
the bureaucratic process. Shenanigans!
As I understand the situation, after a number of failed attempts to get into VA counseling Scott
sought help from another solider buddy who told him to just show up at the ER and they would
have no choice but to address his needs.
 Scott showed up at VA hospital ER on January 10, 2007
 January 17, 2007 received letter from VA accepting Scott as patient
 PCP appointment on January 29, 2007 at VA
From what I have been able to gather the following are the dates that I have that Scott was seen
at the VA:
January 10, 2007; January 29, 2007; February 09, 2007; February 28, 2007; March 28, 2007;
April 19, 2007; May 31, 2007; June 11, 2007; and June 30, 2007.
- On March 28, 2007 VA diagnosed Scott with Axis I PTSD with Mood Disturbance
(dysphoria) and Axis IV social/occupational/interpersonal relationship issues
- On May 31, 2007 VA diagnosed Scott with Axis I PTSD with Mood Disturbance
(dysphoria) and Alcohol Abuse. Axis III GERD, Tobacco use. Axis IV
social/occupational/interpersonal relationship issues. Axis V Global
Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale of 51. For example, the range 41-50 describes serious symptoms such
as suicidal ideation. However, with a scale of 51 the VA was stating that Scott was not suicidal.
For your information-
51 to 60 Moderate symptoms (e.g., flat affect and circumstantial speech, occasional panic
attacks) OR moderate difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning (e.g.,
few friends, conflicts with peers or co-workers).
41 to 50 Serious symptoms (e.g., suicidal ideation, severe obsessional rituals, frequent
shoplifting) OR any serious impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning
(e.g., no friends, unable to keep a job).
Scott was prescribed a list of medications:
Nicotine patch (14mg, 21mg, 7mg), Omeprazole (20mg), Remeron, Zoloft, Wellbutrin,
Mirtazapram, Citalopram (10 increased over time up to 30mg), Hydrobrominde, Bupropion HCL
(150mg), Celexa, Lunesta, Clonazepam (.05mg), Trazodone, and possibly more.
From what I have been able to gather the following are the dates that I have that Scott was seen
at the Vet Center for counseling:
June 18, 2007; July 02, 2007; July 16, 2007; July 20, 2007; July 30, 2007; August 27, 2007;
September 12, 2007; September 26, 2007; October 24, 2007; December 19, 2007; February 01,
2008
Scott committed suicide 3 months later….
FYI: On August 13, 2008 the VA awarded Scott PTSD rating of 10% citing that “the Joint Service Records Research Center
Memorandum received on August 07, 2008 has confirmed stressor associated with duty in Iraq. Although, the evidence has been
received after the last decision it is considered in our constructive custody. Service connection is established because we now
have corroborated evidence of an in-service stressor and PTSD diagnosis meeting diagnostic criteria confirmed by a physician”.
My story aired on November 10th on PBS the program News Hour with Jim Leher. The story got the attention of Paul Sullivan
the Executive Director Veterans for Common Sense whom wrote and legislated for change using Scott as an example. Before the
PBS story even aired my story spread like wild fire and was picked up by several media outlets. Just Google Scott Eiswert and
there are pages and pages on our story. On August 26, 2008 out of the blue I received a letter from the VA apologizing for the
error in their rating decision of 10% and awarded him a new rating of 50%. In this letter the VA states that they had made a clear
and unmistakable error. Shenanigans!
I appealed that rating and subsequently Scott received after his death a rating of 100%. Shenanigans!

I firmly believe that it took my story going public before VA took notice of their error. I am
outraged that Scott had to die for the VA to acknowledge this error! I have continued to be
outraged at the court findings in this case as technicalities have out weighted the merits of my
case. In my opinion, it is these very shenanigans that stressed Scott as the VA continued to deny
his PTSD claims.
Best Regards,

Tracy Eiswert