Senators demand investigation into disabled veteran's death Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst sent a letter Friday to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, asking him to look into the circumstances of Alan Meisel’s death. The senators referred to a Des Moines Sunday Register article about Meisel, who lived for decades in Iowa before moving to Texas in 2013 to be near a brother-in-law.
How did Iowa veteran end up dead in Texas
Des Moines Register
October 1, 2016
SPRINGTOWN, Texas — Alan Meisel’s Iowa friends can’t imagine how he came to spend his final months here, stuck in a rundown rental house with two paroled sex offenders instead of in a nursing home.
Meisel, who lived in Des Moines much of his life, wasn’t a criminal. He was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, who qualified for a significant disability pension and free health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange during the war, sparking a severe form of Parkinson’s disease that left him barely able to walk, talk or eat, his friends say. It also left him unable to defend himself last March, when two roommates in the Texas rental house allegedly shoved him out of his wheelchair and beat him black and blue, according to sheriff's investigators.
The 68-year-old veteran died three weeks after the alleged attack. A medical examiner listed “natural causes” for his death, but the autopsy report notes numerous scabs and yellowing bruises on his arms, legs and face. Just 102 pounds remained on his 5-foot-7-inch frame.
His friends back in Iowa aren’t satisfied with the fact that the two roommates are charged with assaulting Meisel. They see the tragedy as an example of how a vulnerable person can be neglected if no one speaks up on his behalf.
They want to know how he ended up in the rental home, which they believe was grossly inadequate for his medical needs. Why was he no longer in a nursing home with professional care? Why wasn't his veteran status enough to guarantee him that care? What happened to his money?
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