Vet Says VA Hospital Guards Assaulted Him
OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) - Security guards at a Veterans Affairs hospital sprayed a patient with Mace and gave him a concussion after he asked for a new nurse, the veteran claims in court.
Joe Reece, of Springer, Okla., sued the United States in Federal Court on July 11. The United States is the only defendant.
Reece claims that during an October 2012 visit to VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City, he told his physician, Dr. Sopukro Tienabeso, that he "thought the world of him" but did not want to be treated by nurse Vicki Jones anymore.
Reece says he told Tienabeso his relationship with Jones was not a good one and he wanted a new caregiver.
"Vicki Jones refused to leave the room, which upset plaintiff," the complaint states. "Plaintiff stated, 'I am leaving and going to the car.' When plaintiff was on his way to leave the clinic, the VAMC OKC security guards blocked him from leaving. As plaintiff attempted to leave, he was assaulted by the security guards. The guards sprayed him with Mace, and threw him to the floor."
Reece said he suffered a concussion, cuts to his face, and neck injuries. He already was suffering from cervical spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease.
"Plaintiff reported that his arms were pulled back so forcefully behind his back that the pain in his arthritic shoulders have never returned to the pre-trauma state," the complaint states. "Plaintiff had traumatic areas involving the trunk, the right upper extremity, the face and eye, and head, as well as the left elbow."
Law enforcement cleared the security guards, determining they were acting in the scope of their employment, Reece says in the complaint.
A spokesperson for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center said the VA hospital does not comment on pending litigation.
Reece seeks damages for assault and battery and negligence.
He is represented by T. David Hasbrook of Oklahoma City.