CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Now that Reta Mays will be spending the rest of her life in prison, the attention turns to problems inside the VA Hospital.
Today the VA’s Office of Inspector General finally released its report on the deaths. It found a number of problems, including that insulin, was left out on carts in hospital hallways, where anyone could get it. It says hospital management should have seen the trend of unexplained insulin deaths, in non-diabetic patients, but key signals were missed or ignored.
“Hospitals have what is known as sentinel events, which means when there is an unexplained death they are required to do a root cause investigation.Each one of these should have triggered a siren going off,” said Tony O’Dell, attorney for VA victims’ families.
In Court.Tuesday, Melanie Proctor, the daughter of victim Sgt. Felix McDermott said of Reta Mays, “She (Reta Mays) has taken away any faith that we had in the VA system that my dad held in really high esteem.”
The report also criticized the hospital for hiring Reta Mays in the first place. A simple internet check of West Virginia nursing licenses, which is available to the public, showed that she was not a certified or licensed nursing assistant as she claimed. and no one at the VA did a background check that she had been sued for allegedly beating an inmate when she was a state corrections officer.
“She was hired and there were concerns about her and the place where she had previous employment. That should have showed up immediately. And there should have been absolutely an ironclad provision that no one can be hired until the background check is complete,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
The report says that hospital administrators failed to properly investigate the suspicious deaths after the information surfaced. A number of top leaders were removed.
“So far there have more than seven-and-a-half million dollars has been paid out for wrongful deaths in these cases. But more claims are pending, so the bill to the VA is likely to rise,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.