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Spokesman: Safeguards implemented after deaths at West Virginia VA hospital

Spokesman: Safeguards implemented after deaths at West Virginia VA hospital
© Aaron Schwartz

A West Virginia Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital on Wednesday said it has taken steps in response to 10 suspicious deaths, adding the investigation does not involve any current employees of the hospital, according to USA Today.

The allegations “do not involve any current Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center employees,” hospital spokesman Wesley Walls told the newspaper before saying the hospital has since implemented “safeguards” to address the issues.

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Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike White House noncommittal on 'Plan B' push to add wage increase to relief bill MORE (D-W.Va.) said officials were looking at a “person of interest” and that VA officials had told him the person in question was no longer in contact with veterans at the hospital.

“These crimes shock the conscience and I’m still appalled they were not only committed but that our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, were the victims,” Manchin said, according to Reuters.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has been working with our federal law enforcement partners to investigate the allegations of potential wrongdoing resulting inpatient deaths,” said VA Inspector General Michael Missal in a statement, according to Reuters.

At least one of the deaths has been ruled a homicide, or a death that, whether intentional or not, was caused by another’s deliberate actions.

An autopsy revealed Felix Kirk McDermott, an 82-year-old Army veteran, died last April from an injection of insulin into his abdomen, which can be fatal to people who are not diabetic. McDermott had no history of diabetes or insulin use.

"It’s just not right," McDermott’s daughter Melanie Proctor told the newspaper. "I thought my dad was safe there."