Attorney: Families of other Clarksburg VA suspicious deaths should be contacted

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An attorney that represents several families of the veterans murdered at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center says both the Veterans Administration’s Office of Inspector General and FBI should be contacting the families of other victims who died on the floor where Reta Mays worked.

Reta Mays

Mays, 46, pleaded guilty last week in connection with the deaths of eight veterans. She faces life in prison at her sentencing later this year. Charleston attorney Tony O’Dell said there are other families impacted.

“Besides these eight, we had calls from 13 other people whose loved ones died on the floor,” O’Dell said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “I’m not saying they’re all related but they died on the floor or shortly thereafter in Hospice or something like that, but they had an untoward event on the floor.”

U.S. Attorney Bill Powell said last week they only charged Mays with the deaths they could prove. She injected the veterans with insulin when they didn’t need it. Mays was unauthorized to give the injections. Part of her job was to monitor the hospitalized veterans overnight.

Tony O’Dell

O’Dell said the VA’s OIG and FBI should be contacting the families of the victims they have information on but did not charge Mays in their deaths.

“They should be saying, ‘Hey, we believe your loved ones death is suspicious too and here’s why,'” O’Dell said.

O’Dell said he knows of three families that have been contacted.

The information on the other suspicious deaths hasn’t yet been collected yet by O’Dell and other attorneys representing the families in various civil lawsuits.

“We’re hamstrung a little bit because we don’t have the ability to get discovery at this point because the lawsuits just aren’t far enough belong but the FBI and the OIG have a lot more information than we do and they know there are a lot more suspicious deaths,” O’Dell said.

Robert Kozul

O’Dell filed the latest civil lawsuit against the VA this week. It was filed in federal court in Clarksburg on behalf of the family of Robert Lee Kozul Sr. who died in 2018.

“It’s the same scenario, he’s on floor 3A at night and Reta Mays injected him with insulin and caused his death. What we really allege through the complaint in the lawsuit are the system failures of the hospital,” O’Dell said.

Kozul wasn’t the first to die of similar circumstances. O’Dell said it should have been caught by hospital staff.

“We either have a bunch of doctors and staff that’s completely incompetent or they just didn’t care enough to try to figure out what’s going on. Even though the law and their own ethical codes and the hospital policy required them to do these root cause investigations,” O’Dell said.

Four civil lawsuits have now been filed.

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