The recent sentencing of a West Virginia nursing assistant who pleaded guilty last year to murdering seven elderly patients in a Veterans’ Affairs medical facility brings this terrible matter close to conclusion. Stories like this make you shudder and want to hold on to your loved one, protecting him or her from harm.
Granted, these murders – by lethal injection of insulin — and wrongful deaths represent an extreme case. But they should not have happened. The victims were all vulnerable veterans between the ages of 81 and 96, who needed hospital care but wound up dying instead. Families always hope that their loved ones are receiving proper care in hospitals and nursing homes. But that does not always happen.
Convicted of crimes that occurred in 2017 and 2018, Reta Mays served as an unlicensed nursing assistant at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia. She was not authorized to provide medication to hospital patients, but she did so anyway. Where was her supervisor? Who was monitoring her?
Besides the criminal charges against her, Mays’s actions also led to a series of wrongful death lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the West Virginia medical center where the crimes occurred. In October, six of the families agreed to a tentative out-of-court settlement, receiving a combined amount of $5 million.
Negligence on the part of the VA and its medical facility in West Virginia played a significant role in this case, which went undetected for some time. If you have an elderly loved one receiving care in a medical facility or nursing home, you expect to hear about progress. Please make regular visits to these facilities to boost your loved one’s spirits and let the facility staff know that you are watching them.