In a dramatic and heartbreaking moment that was caught on video, an ailing Navy veteran, who is struggling to keep up with mounting medical bills attended a town hall in Carson City, Nevada and told Bernie Sanders that he was planning on killing himself.
The veteran, whose first name is John, told Sanders that his Tricare had been taken away and that his medical bills were currently over $130,000.
“How are you going to pay it off?” Sanders asked the veteran.
“I can’t, I can’t. I’m gonna kill myself!” John replied.
Sanders stopped for a second letting what the veteran just stated sink in. Then he spoke up stating, “Don’t. Hold it, John. Stop it. You’re not gonna kill yourself. Stop it.”
Sanders then asked him to stay after the town hall wrapped up so they could discuss the situation in private.
Cara Korte of CBS news caught the moment on a video that has now gone viral.
— Cara Korte (@CaraKorte) September 13, 2019
John told Sanders that he was in the Navy for 20 years, which included tours in both Kuwait and Somalia.
“I saved lives. I was a Navy corpsman,” John said. “We take care of our own except now. My Tricare is not acceptable anymore, they took it away.”
John explained that he suffers from Huntington’s disease, which is a genetic disorder that causes the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. There is no treatment for the disease.
“I have Huntington’s disease, I’m in Stage IV,” he said. “I can barely take care of myself, and I do not have the energy to fight these people.”
After listening to John’s heart-wrenching story, Sanders said, “I wish that I could say that what John just described is unique and that he is the only person in America who undergoes that, but it’s not. So, John, we’ll talk about it after the meeting, and we’ll see what we can do about it.”
After the town hall, Sanders and his wife spent time talking to the veteran, but there’s no official word on what they discussed.
In America, 20 veterans take their lives every day that is 6,000 veterans a year. In 2007 a hotline was created and has received more than 3.5 million calls, which has so far resulted in emergency help being sent to nearly 100,000 people.