Family Blames VA Hospital for Vietnam Vet's Death

Family says man died in the parking lot while awaiting care

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    Family says man died in the parking lot while awaiting care. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports. (Published Monday, July 14, 2014)

    A grieving Waukegan family is blaming a North Chicago VA hospital for the death of a decorated Vietnam veteran.

    Family members claim 68-year-old Laurence Sinnin, who suffered from heart disease, died on April 28 in the James A. Lovell VA Hospital parking lot waiting for emergency treatment.

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    Sinnin's son, Tarrell, says his dad wasn't feeling well so he son drove him to the hospital. He says he asked the valet and a clerk for help, but his pleas went nowhere and he was given the run-around.

    "I was begging and pleading for help," Sinnin said.

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    Sinnin says his dad died inside their van after more than 20 minutes of waiting for care.

    "Then they come to me and then they say, you know, your father is gone," Sinnin said.

    Veteran's rights advocate Patricia Axelrod says she's working with the family to find out what went wrong that day and to prevent it from happening again.

    "This is the worst I've ever seen. Essentially Lawrence Sinnin died like a dog in the parking lot while  his son was begging for help," Axelrod said.

    A spokeswoman for the hospital told NBC 5 that they can't release specifics about the case, but have met with the victim's family several times and are still reviewing the matter.

    "I just want to find out what happened. I just want to find out what process didn't take place that should've take place," Sinnin said.

    The family also claims someone from the hospital took the victim's corneas without their permission and that his wedding band is missing.The family says they're considering a lawsuit, but haven't made a decision.