Posted by Mary Chastain Wednesday, August 28, 2019 at 11:00am
Investigators found the veterans “all about in the same shape.” All of them had “suspicious doses of insulin.”
Three people have told USA Today that authorities have launched an investigation into the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, due to 10 suspicious deaths.
A federal medical examiner ruled one death a homicide.
Authorities exhumed the body of Army veteran Felix Kirk McDermott, 82, in October due to the investigation into the other deaths. From USA Today:
A federal medical examiner conducted an autopsy and concluded that McDermott’s sudden death on April 9, 2018, was caused by an injection of insulin into his abdomen – which can kill someone who is not diabetic.
There was no order for the injection in McDermott’s hospital records, and he had no history of diabetes or insulin use to control his blood sugar levels, according to the autopsy report.
“It’s just not right,” his daughter Melanie Proctor told USA TODAY. “I thought my dad was safe there.”
Proctor, whose father had dementia, and her lawyer said investigators with the VA’s Office of Inspector General told them his death is one of about 10 they are reviewing, a figure confirmed by a person briefed on the federal investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity.
No one told McDermott’s family how he died. He went to the VA for treatment for pneumonia.
Authorities found the other veterans “all about in the same shape.” All of them had “suspicious doses of insulin.”
Investigators for Veterans Affairs have zeroed in one person as a target of interest. They did not disclose the person’s identity, even to the McDermott family. No one has filed criminal charges against this person.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin released a statement. From military.com:
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., issued a statement Friday, after news reports about the investigation were released, saying the reports were “shocking if accurate.”
“I am appalled that these crimes were not only committed, but that our Veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country, were the victims,” Manchin wrote. “As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee I will do everything in my power to investigate these accusations and get to the bottom of what happened. These families and loved ones deserve answers as soon as possible and I will make sure they get them.”
Proctor decided to seek “monetary damages, including $7,500 for funeral expenses.” If the claim is not resolved in six months the family can then file a lawsuit in federal court.
The VA hospital said the investigation does not involve current employees. Those in charge also said they are cooperating with the investigation.