A couple posted photos on Facebook and said veterans waited for hours in pain inside the Durham VA Medical Center.
Stephen McMenamin, a former U.S. Marine, was there for treatment, and his wife took the pictures.
“My wife found it upsetting, so she took a couple pictures,” he said.
He said a veteran on the ground was using his bag of medication for a pillow after being denied an available reclining chair.
"The nurse started yelling at him, telling him he can't do that. He's like, 'I can't get up and I won't get up. I will be here until you can see me. Can I please have a blanket?’" McMenamin said.
That Facebook post was shared more than 80,000 times.
McMenamin said they started hearing from other veterans and their families.
"All these people, and it was, you know, it's been kind of heartbreaking," he said.
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The hospital's chief executive nurse responded and told McMenamin that the matter is being investigated.
Rep. Robert Pittenger said this just reaffirms his push to hold VA employees more accountable.
"It’s absolutely tragic,” he said. “It’s frankly reflective of what we've seen from the VA, and that’s why I sponsored last year and this year, the VA Accountability Act."
Commander of the North Carolina VFW said things in the state have improved drastically, but he said if an investigation confirms what is depicted in these photos, then the staff responsible should be fired.
"There's no question about it, I mean, there's no acceptable reason why this should have happened," Commander Doug Blevins said.
Statement from the Medical Center Director DeAnne Seekins:
“We take seriously any allegation of poor service. I was made aware of a regrettable incident that occurred in our Emergency Department over the weekend and am thankful someone cared enough to share the incident with us. Our mission is to provide the highest level of health care to Veterans, so upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review.
It is an honor to serve America's heroes and actions that do not align with our core values will not be tolerated. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care to the Veterans we serve and being responsive to our patient's needs. Veterans deserve nothing less."
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