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Carl Mclaughlin (right) poses with his sister. Mclaughlin committed suicide while waiting for care from the Phoenix Veterans Association. (Photo: Terry Mclaughlin)

PHOENIX -- A grieving Maricopa, Ariz. mother claimed her son was one of 40 veterans who died while waiting for medical services from the Phoenix Veterans Association.

Carl Mclaughlin, 38, hung himself from a four-post canopy bed in his father's bedroom in December.

"Everyday I think, 'How did this happen? How am I supposed to go on without him,'" said Terry Mclaughlin, Carl's mother.

She said her son served the country proudly and for eight years as an Army scout and left the military life several years ago. She believes her son suffered from PTSD and other mental illnesses, but was never properly diagnosed or prescribed the correct medications.

Recalling the last day she saw her son alive, he had made indications that he felt something was wrong physically, mentally.

"I'm most angry with myself," Terry said. "I feel like I should have seen it. I should have been more in tune with him."

Terry claimed her son was on the alleged secret waiting list which whistleblowers have described as a tool used to cover up delays in treating patients. She said her son would have to wait several weeks to be seen by medical staff at the VA hospital.

"He would leave a message and his information would be entered on a list along with all the other veterans. When it got to the point where he could be seen within a two-week period, they'd return his call and re-enter his information on that list to make it seem like the wait times were shorter and they were getting better."

Terry holds the VA accountable for her son's death.

"No excuse for what they've done. It's so sad and such a disservice to these men and women who have served our country. I don't think it's too much to ask that they get the care they need in a timely fashion."

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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