The family of a decorated marine is saying Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors gave him powerful drugs that he used to take his own life.
Twenty-four year old Marine Lance corporal Johnny Lutz first served in Iraq and then the front lines of Afghanistan.
“Johnny was the life of the party,” said his mother Janine Lutz.
But war changed him. He committed suicide shortly after returning from serving.
“For six months every minute you think you are gonna die and that changes your brain,” said Lutz.
She said he didn’t die on the battlefield but because of medical mistakes at the VA Hospital in Miami and clinic in Tamarac.
“I’m angry and sad it was preventable,” said Lutz.
Lutz said powerful medicine was given to her son for post-traumatic stress disorder even after he told them it made him suicidal. She said they upped the dosage and he took his own life.
“Multiple doctors knew and my sons life wasn’t of value,” said Lutz.
She said she intends to sue for the wrongful death of her son.
“If you ask any doctor at the VA, they will tell you they are not happy with the system but they need the resources from Congress,” said attorney John Uustal.
Veterans Administration spokesman Shane Suzuki released a statement Thursday, saying, “While our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Mr. Lutz, we cannot comment on pending litigation”
Now Janine Lutz is trying to help other veterans dealing with the demons of war. She has started a foundation in her child’s name, buddying up veterans with others who have walked in their shoes.
“I know I’m saving lives and that makes me feel good,” said Lutz.