Four Staff Members Quit Oklahoma VA Facility After Veteran with Maggots in Wound Dies

The emblem for the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs is seen as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, August 7, 2014. REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING

Four staff members have resigned from a southeastern Oklahoma VA facility after a veteran was found to have maggots in his wound.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Myles Deering said the maggots were discovered while the patient was still alive at the Talihina facility, although he said the maggots did not cause his death, the Associated Press reported.

Deering said the veteran came to the facility with an infection and died of sepsis, the Tulsa World reported.

The VA said a physician’s assistant and three nurses, including the director of nursing, all resigned after an investigation was conducted.

Spokesman Shane Faulkner said all four decided to resign before anyone could be terminated.

The incident was reported to the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the district attorney for LeFlore and Latimer counties to see if charges should be filed against the staffers.

The veteran, Owen Reese Peterson, died at age 73 Oct. 3, according to his son Raymie Parker.

“During the 21 days I was there … I pled with the medical staff, the senior medical staff, to increase his meds so his bandages could be changed,” Parker said. “I was met with a stonewall for much of that time.”

Deering said the VA has considered moving the facility because of the millions of dollars in costs associated with fixing a nearly 100-year-old building.

The facility also has staffing issues where it has difficulty finding and retaining staff, Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Springer) said.

This story comes on the heels of another report about a VA facility providing substandard care to veterans.

A dentist at a VA facility in Tomah, Wisconsin reportedly infected more than 600 veterans with diseases such as hepatitis and HIV because he used unsterilized equipment.


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