CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A lawyer representing families of veterans who died suspiciously at the VA hospital in Clarksburg says there are more than 10 victims.
“I know that they’re looking into more than 10,” said attorney Tony O’Dell, who represents several families of veterans who died at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center.
The FBI and the Inspector General for the Veterans Administration have been investigating the mysterious deaths. The U.S. Senate committee that explores veterans issues has been considering hearings on what happened in Clarksburg.
No one has been arrested, but authorities with the VA have said no one currently working there is a suspect.
“It would be nice to know what is going on, what’s changing, what have they done to make sure this isn’t going to happen again,” O’Dell said. “You have a lot of people who depend on that hospital who have no confidence in it.”
Five victims have been identified publicly, plus there are two others who have not been named. They include veterans William Alfred Holloway, Felix Kirk McDermott, George Nelson Shaw, Archie Edgell and John Hallman.
O’Dell represents McDermott and Hallman, plus two others who have not yet been named.
“I’ve got two other cases where the OIG has actually shown up at the homes. One of the cases, there’s actually an autopsy being performed right now,” he said.
“And we have another case where the autopsy has been performed but the body had decomposed to the point where it was not able to be determined from the autopsy if it was a homicide. But the medical records do have the hallmark of exactly what we’re looking for in here, which was medically-unexplained hypoglycemic event.”
Plus O’Dell described three additional cases that his office is considering.
“The circumstances are there,” O’Dell said. “There’s a sudden turn. Some of the cases, they didn’t do the blood test to determine whether there was a severe hypoglycemic event. To date there hasn’t been an autopsy on those bodies, but those are ones that we’re looking at.”
And O’Dell said he was recently contacted by another lawyer representing the family of a veteran who died in 2017. The lawyer said that, too, was a homicide.
The deaths have several factors in common. The victims were being treated in 3A, a unit on the hospital’s third floor. And each experienced crashing blood sugar consistent with being injected with insulin.
One of the unnamed victims was admitted in January, 2018, O’Dell said. He was not a diabetic and his blood sugar level was normal.
“All of a sudden, he’s clammy. He quit talking. Something clearly going on. They do a blood test, and his glucose level is 27, which is extremely low,” O’Dell said.
An autopsy result is expected soon, O’Dell said.
“I fully expect this autopsy report will show this is a homicide,” O’Dell said.
Another patient died in July, 2018. He, too, was not diabetic but experienced severe hypoglycemia, O’Dell said.
That’s the case where an autopsy could not show a cause of death. But additional factors were the same as in the other deaths, he said.
“I think that case fits exactly into the category,” O’Dell said.
Tony O’dell joins @HoppyKercheval to talk about the ongoing cases of families he is representing who have had loved ones pass under suspicious circumstances at the VA in Clarksburg. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/BYPzMEZyBO
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) October 3, 2019