- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2019


As many as 11 suspicious deaths have occurred at the Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia in recent years, including two — involving an 82-year-old former Army sergeant named Felix Kirk McDermott and an 81-year-old retired member of the Air Force named George Nelson Shaw Sr. — who were both injected with fatal doses of insulin in the same time frame, April of 2018.

Those two have been ruled homicides.

And here we are, more than a year later, and what has the investigation got to show for itself?

In October, McDermott’s body was exhumed. A medical examiner determined he was fed a needle full of insulin right into his stomach, despite the fact that he had no history of diabetes, despite the fact that hospital records show no order for the shot.

“I thought my dad was safe here,” his daughter, Melanie Proctor, told USA Today.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, confirmed that authorities are indeed investigating a “person of interest.” And the FBI is involved; Attorney General William P. Barr has also said the Department of Justice will provide whatever investigative resources are needed to solve the case reviews.

But here’s the thing: What is taking so dang long?

The Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg sure does seem the place to be if you’re a veteran with a death wish. But it’s not like that reputation sprung overnight.

“Manchin,” the Military Times wrote, “said the VA inspector general told his office about the opening of a medical and criminal investigation of the hospital in July 2018, after at least nine patients were diagnosed with unexplained low blood sugar. He said he told Barr in a letter that he has ‘grave concerns over the pace of the investigations.’ “

So should all of America. Nine patients? Seems questions could’ve come at number two. Number three at most.

These are our veterans — our honored, esteemed, self-sacrificing U.S. veterans, after all. And, in the eyes of the left, at least, weren’t they being taken care of by the best — by the government health care best? Go Obamacare.

Hospital administrators say all due care is now being taken to make sure — well, to put it bluntly, to make sure nobody else is murdered at the facility.

Manchin is assuring that the “person of interest” is no longer “in contact with veterans at the VA facility” and that he, personally, as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is going to “do everything in my power to investigate” and “get to the bottom” of these suspicious deaths.

Well and good.

That doesn’t solve the real puzzler, though.

McDermott’s daughter Proctor launched a wrongful death suit against the VA via Tony O’Dell of the Tiano O’Dell law office in Charleston. And as O’Dell said to USA Today: McDermott’s was not the first to die. Rather, among the last.

“It should never have gotten to Mr. McDermott,” he said.


That it did, and that the investigation is still in the investigation phase, rather than prosecution and retribution stages, is a shameful sluggish seeming shoulder-shrug of justice — and of our nation’s finest fighting forces.

Our veterans deserve better.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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