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West Virginia Veterans Hospital Hit with Lawsuit Over Wrongful Insulin Injections

— June 2, 2020

The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center was recently hit with a third lawsuit over a patient death from a wrongful insulin injection.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed against Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, a West Virginia veterans hospital located in Clarksburg, over the “deaths of patients due to wrongful insulin injections.” The suit was filed by Tony O’Dell on behalf of John William Hallman. Hallman was 87-years-old and a veteran when he died at the medical center in June 2018. The suit is seeking unspecified damages. 

Insulin. Image via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

Hallman was one of the unfortunate patients who from a wrongful insulin injection. According to the lawsuit, “five months after he died, Hallman’s “death certificate was amended and his immediate cause of death was listed as ‘unexplained hypoglycemia,’ or low blood sugar.” It turns out, “an unidentified employee had given Hallman a shot of insulin despite no physician’s order being issued,” according to the suit. Prior to Hallman’s untimely death, “the night shift on the same hospital floor “experienced sudden severe unexplained patient decline leading to patient death on at least 9 occasions.”

This isn’t the first time O’Dell filed a lawsuit against the medical center, though. Back in April, he filed a similar suit “on behalf of the widow of George Nelson Shaw Sr., an 81-year-old retired member of the Air Force who also died at the hospital in April 2018.” According to Shaw’s autopsy report, he had “four insulin injection sites on both arms and one leg.” Then, back in March, another lawsuit was filed against the center, this time by a woman whose father died at the hospital in April 2018 under similar circumstances. The man was former Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott, 82.

As a result of the mounting deaths, federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into the matter and attorneys for O’Dell and other families have said the “deaths of McDermott and Shaw have been ruled homicides.” One federal attorney, Bill Powell, said the investigation “is a top priority.” He’s as U.S. attorney for northern West Virginia. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia also sent Attorney General Barr a letter last year saying he had “grave concerns over the pace of the investigation.” Manchin added that he was told by VA officials that their “person of interest was no longer in contact with any veterans at the facility.” The inspector general of the VA center also informed Manchin’s office that it launched a “medical and criminal investigation of the hospital in July 2018.”

As the government’s second-largest department, the VA is responsible for about nine million veterans.


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