The daughter of a decorated veteran who died suddenly of an insulin overdose at a Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia over a year ago — and whose death has been dubbed a homicide — told Fox News’ Shannon Bream on Wednesday she is “still waiting” for answers on what happened to her father.
“You’re just amazed that this is even going on,” Melanie Proctor said on “Fox News at Night.” “We’re still waiting for all of our answers. We’re still waiting to hear from the VA.”
Investigators identified a person of interest in the string of 11 suspicious deaths over nine months at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, a two-hour drive south of Pittsburgh.
The person of interest is a woman who worked the overnight shift as a nursing assistant and was fired last year, the Washington Post reported, adding that it did not name her because she has not been charged.
“There’s an investigation on the hospital side where they’re looking at all the system failures that would have allowed this to happen for nine months,” Tony O’Dell, an attorney representing seven of the victims’ families, told Fox News. “And then, we have a criminal investigation… so they can hopefully charge the person of interest and we’re hoping that’s sooner rather than later. We understand that’s a pretty daunting part of the investigation. What’s frustrating is that they haven’t moved forward with the hospital side of the investigation because they know the system failures that allowed this person to do what she did for as long as she did.”
Felix McDermott, an 82-year-old Army veteran who suffered from dementia following a stroke a few years prior, died suddenly on April 9, 2018, at the VA hospital. The latter years of his life had been spent battling heart disease, hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Three days before his death, he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia after he got food caught in his lung, but he appeared to be rebounding, daughter Melanie Proctor told USA Today.
It wasn’t until a few months later — when investigators with the VA watchdog’s office let her know his death was marked by some suspicious circumstances — that she let them exhume his body.
An autopsy revealed that McDermott received a dose of insulin to his abdomen, which could be deadly to someone who did not have diabetes. Hospital records did not indicate that doctors had ordered any insulin for McDermott; the shot caused his blood sugar level to take a deadly dive.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., urged the VA watchdog to provide answers to families as soon as possible
“A year’s been too long. It’s too long, especially if you’re a family member, and we want to make sure the timelines, we understand more,” Manchin said in late August. “What time, how many people involved, how many families are wondering now. These are all questions we need answered.”
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie expressed frustrations to Fox News on Wednesday that the inspector general hasn’t wrapped up the investigation
“All the families need to hear something. I mean, we’ve waited over a year. We’re still waiting for charges to be pressed,” Proctor said. “We’re still waiting to see what went wrong at the VA, that this went this far and that there were so many victims.”
O’Dell added, “I feel very strongly that there will be justice. I think there will be justice on the criminal side and I think there will be justice on the civil side as well.”
Fox News’ Shannon Bream contributed to this report.