VA Hospital nurse injured on the job protesting in Murfreesboro - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

VA Hospital nurse injured on the job protesting in Murfreesboro

Douglas Smith is on a one-man protest on street corners around Murfreesboro and even in front of the VA Hospital. Douglas Smith is on a one-man protest on street corners around Murfreesboro and even in front of the VA Hospital.
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

The widespread mismanagement at the VA has sparked outrage nationwide. But in Murfreesboro, one man's personal protest has made him a very visible sign of what has gone wrong with his personal battle after being injured on the job.

"I'm a veteran helping veterans; it's not just about me," said Alvin C. York VA Hospital LPN Douglas Smith.

Smith is on a one-man protest on street corners around Murfreesboro and even in front of the VA Hospital.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people are polite and support me, except the man that threw a beer bottle at me," Smith said.

Two years ago, the Army veteran was injured when he tried to stop a patient in the psych ward from attacking a doctor.

"He scissor-kicked me and threw me to the ground," Smith said. "I suffered a fractured right humerus and a torn rotator cuff."

Smith said after the physical attack, he was attacked again, this time with hateful words.

"I won't use the words he used, and told me to die and all the Jews that ever live to die," he said. "This is a hate crime."

He said the man who attacked him, Leonard Bacareella, was only charged with simple assault.

Smith says the injury to his hand is only getting worse.

"My hand is deteriorating at rapid pace," he said.

He was able to get federal workers' compensation, but now claims bills are not being paid on time.

He also claims part of his tax return was garnered and his private insurance is being billed.

He also said it's been more than a year since he's been able to see a doctor.

"It takes anywhere from to four to six months to get anything approved," Smith said.

Smith has taken to Facebook and YouTube to spread his message. At last check, his posted video had more than 37,000 views.

"We have all this stuff going on at the top of the list, as everyone knows the VA scandal, but nothing's being done on the local level," Smith said.

Smith said he will continue to wage his protest until something is done to make sure VA workers are safe in the workplace, and the bureaucratic red tape of getting claims approved changes.

"They picked on the wrong nurse, and I will not just lay down and let them take me and ruin my life," he said.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee VA said Smith's issue is with the U.S. Department of Labor, Worker's Compensation Division, and not the local VA.

"We cannot comment on Federal Employees' Compensation Act claims without a signed privacy waiver," said Department of Labor public affairs specialist Ann Mangold.

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