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VA investigating patient deaths at West Virginia hospital

August 28, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday it is investigating allegations of “potential wrongdoing” resulting in multiple patient deaths at a VA hospital in West Virginia.

VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal said in a statement his office has been looking with federal law enforcement into allegations at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement he “will do everything in my power to investigate these accusations and get to the bottom of what happened.”

Missal’s statement did not specify what federal law enforcement agencies were involved, the number of deaths or when they occurred. Missal declined further comment on the investigation.

Harrison County Prosecutor Rachel Romano told The Exponent Telegram the U.S. attorney’s office in the state’s northern district is “monitoring the situation.” Romano, in addition to a spokesman for Manchin, didn’t immediately return messages Tuesday.

Stacy Bishop, a spokeswoman for U.S. attorney Bill Powell, said that as a matter of policy, her office doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation.

The newspaper reported an attorney for the daughter of a Clarksburg VA patient who died last year filed a notice of a pending lawsuit. It said an autopsy performed after the body was exhumed showed her father died after an insulin injection. He was not a diabetic and no insulin was prescribed for him.

Charleston attorney Tony O’Dell said the VA told his client there was evidence as many as 10 other patients died in similar fashion.

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