CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Both U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito are calling for full investigations after learning of a claim that a patient at the VA Medical Center in Clarksburg was the victim of homicide while in the care of the hospital while also learning there may have been a number of other deaths with similar circumstances.
The Clarksburg Exponent first reported the claim, which is a six-month notice of a pending lawsuit against the federal government, Friday. Charleston attorney Tony O’Dell filed a notice of claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of the family of Retired Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott.
McDermott was 82 when he died at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in April 2018. Federal investigators ordered his body exhumed later that year. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner later ruled the death a homicide, according to the report.
Manchin and Capito both responded Friday.
“This report is shocking and if accurate, I am appalled that these crimes were not only committed but that our Veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country, were the victims,” Manchin said in a released statement. “As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee I will do everything in my power to investigate these accusations and get to the bottom of what happened. These families and loved ones deserve answers as soon as possible and I will make sure they get them.”
Capito told the Exponent the report was “sickening and troubling.”
“My office has reached out to the VA to learn more details, and I will do everything I can to make sure this is fully investigated,” Capito said.
O’Dell, who represents McDermott’s sister Melanie Proctor, wrote in his recently filed claim that his client was told her brother’s death was not the only suspicious death at the medical center in Clarksburg.
“During its investigation, VA investigators advised Melanie Proctor … that there was evidence that nine or ten other patients of the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center had been wrongfully injected with insulin in their abdomen, thereby causing their deaths. Ms. Proctor was further advised that her father was one of the last known victims,” O’Dell wrote reported in the Exponent.
There’s been no comment from the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Clarksburg VA Medical Center.