- Vietnam veteran Joel Marrable died on September 7 at the age of 73, while being cared for at a VA assisted-living facility in Atlanta, Georgia.
- His daughter Laquana Ross told CNN last Thursday that twice in her father’s last two days, he was found covered in ants at the Eagles’ Nest Community Living Center.
- VA leaders announced Tuesday that the agency’s regional leader, chief medical officer, and seven other staff members were placed on administrative leave while the internal investigation is conducted, Military.com reported.
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In his last two days, a dying Vietnam veteran was found covered in ants at a VA assisted-living center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Five days after her father Joel Marrable’s death, Laquana Ross spoke out to CNN, saying she’s not mad at the VA but hopes her father’s story will prompt change at the government agency responsible for the healthcare of veterans.
“I felt very small in the world Saturday when my dad died,” she told the outlet. “Now I am able to share his story and my dad matters to someone beyond me and my family. Now the world knows and the world cares that this happened.”
A Vietnam War veteran who was dying of cancer was found in his nursing home room covered in ants twice, leaving him with more than 100 bites, his daughter told Channel 2 Action News.
Joel Marrable, who served in the Air Force, was… https://t.co/dvAE52iwUf
— DeKalb County News (@DeKalbNewsNow) September 11, 2019
Marrable, 73, died on September 7. He had had cancer. Ross said workers at the Eagles’ Nest Community Living Center in Atlanta told her that the day before he passed, they went to check in on her father and found him covered in ants that left dozens of sores on his body.
The workers said they grabbed her father, stripped the bed, bathed him, cleaned the room, and changed the sheets. But they didn’t move him from the room.
The next day, Ross said workers found her father covered in ants again. This time, the administrator on duty had him moved to another room where he was checked on every 15 minutes.
But just a few hours after being moved to the new room, Ross said her father died.
The Atlanta VA Health Care System said in a statement to CNN that it “always strives to provide Veterans with the very best health care available” and holds itself accountable when it doesn’t meet that standard.
“That’s why we have initiated a top-to-bottom review of this situation to ensure it never happens again,” the statement read. “We have apologized to the Marrable family and taken immediate action to correct this issue and ensure no other Veterans will be affected in the future.”
The VA put people on leave while it investigates
VA leaders announced Tuesday that the agency’s regional leader and seven other staff members were placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation takes place, Military.com reported. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ajay Dhawam was reassigned to other duties, “pending a review of quality and safety issues.”
“[This is] about basic humanity and dignity,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told the outlet. “I don’t care what steps were taken to address the issues. We did not treat a vet with the dignity that he and his family deserved.”
The VA told Atlanta-based CNN affiliate WSB that it has since stripped, inspected, and cleaned all of its bedrooms, removed all food from bedrooms, and is assisting residents in keeping their rooms clean.
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