The widow of a Air Force officer has filed a $1.4 million lawsuit charging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with negligence.

Angela K. Betz says the military is responsible for a mental disorder which landed her husband, Stephen Betz, in the care of Salt Lake's Veterans Administration Hospital in the late 1980s.Betz alleges her husband had a psychiatric bipolar condition with fluctuating manic and depressive symptoms resulting in anxiety and irritability. Instead of being diagnosed with bipolar disease, Stephen Betz was placed in a chemical dependency program after admitting to hospital personnel he had been drinking to relieve anxiety.

He never completed the detoxification program but was discharged in 1995. At home his agitations continued and he tried a self-treatment that triggered severe withdrawal symptoms and a seizure, Angela Betz says.

Five days after he was released from the hospital, Stephen Betz was in the emergency room for the withdrawal. While there he went into cardiac arrest and died, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiff claims she has suffered loss of economic security, companionship and future relationships.

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The couple has two children, Ryan and Alexis.

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