VA Deaths: Protection, investigation must be top priorities

Men and women who have served us in the military should not have to worry that they may be murdered if they seek treatment at a Veterans Affairs hospital.

Federal authorities are investigating as many as 10 deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. At least one of those deaths has been ruled to have been a homicide.

A claim has been filed with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by Charleston attorney Tony O’Dell, regarding the death of the late Felix McDermott, an Army veteran.

O’Dell’s claim, filed on behalf of McDermott’s daughter, states though he was not a diabetic, he received an injection of insulin that may have killed him.

The investigation also concluded “there was evidence that nine or ten other patients … had been wrongfully injected with insulin … thereby causing their deaths,” according to O’Dell’s claim.

Worse, the claim adds, hospital employees “were aware of each of the unexpected and suspicious deaths.”

VA officials need to get to the bottom of this. More important, they must take action to protect other patients at the Clarksburg facility — where plenty of veterans from our area seek treatment.

The standard answer bureaucrats provide to such reports is, well, they are just allegations. The autopsy conducted by the Bureau of Public Health said McDermott died of fatal hypoglycemia, a condition of which was exogenous insulin administration. That merits decisive, immediate action.

We owe our veterans better than to worry that they may be killed because they sought VA medical treatment.