Government settles one more VA Medical Center insulin overdose death case.
The widow of a man who died after being injected with insulin at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center has reached a tentative settlement with the federal government. Several other families have previously reached settlements, ranging from $700,000 to $975,000 per victim.
Now, Mary Dean, widow of Charles Dean who died after being injected with insulin at Virginia VA center has agreed to settle for $625,000, according to court documents. Her attorney, Tony O’Dell, said the settlement approval was filed in Upshur County Circuit Court and a hearing has been set for June 3.
The petition states, “Charles Dean died April 26, 2017, after he was wrongfully injected with insulin due to multiple system failures by the employees and administration of Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center.”
Reta Mays, 46, who pleaded guilty last July to the deaths of seven veterans under her care on the overnight shift at the center, is scheduled to be sentenced this week as well. She began working at the hospital in June 2015 and was removed from her duties in July 2018. Mays worked the overnight shift, 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. in Ward 3A, with little supervision.
In July 2020, former nursing assistant Mays pleaded guilty to “seven counts of second-degree murder and one count of assault with the intent to commit murder” after killing seven patients by injecting them with un-prescribed, lethal doses of insulin. Too much insulin in the blood causes cells to absorb too much sugar which causes the liver to release less glucose. These two effects create dangerously low glucose levels in the blood, and the patients died of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Mays also admitted to injecting insulin into an eighth patient, who didn’t die. Her motive to commit these acts is unclear.
““These families deserve answers, as do the veterans who currently rely on The Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center for much needed care. It provides some closure,” said Charleston attorney Tony O’Dell, who represents five of the families nearing settlement. “It provides government stepping up and accepting some responsibility.” However, he said, “There are still families that will never get answers. Their loved ones died on 3A. She worked 3A. They’ll always wonder.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., added, “The West Virginia veteran community deserves transparency on how these horrible murders were able to occur at a VA facility, and I will continue to press the VA to release the report as soon as possible. The quality of care our veterans receive at West Virginia VAMCs and VA facilities across the nation is of the utmost importance, and I will keep fighting to ensure every veteran has access to the safe, quality healthcare they deserve.” He added, “No amount of money or admission of guilt can bring back their loved ones, but I hope that these settlements bring peace of mind to the victims’ families.”