Veteran healthcare nightmare continues: Dead vet found with maggots in wound

"Why you little maggots, you make me want to vomit." - GySgt Hartman, USMC. (Wikimedia-Commons)
“Why you little maggots, you make me want to vomit.” – GySgt Hartman, USMC. (Wikimedia-Commons)

In a report that objectively could be described as vague and peppered with contradictions, four staff members at an Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) have quit following a recently death of an in-care patient found with maggots in a wound prior to his demise.

As reported by the Tulsa World,  a physician’s assistant and three nurses employed at the ODVA facility in the eastern Oklahoma town of Talihina, including the director of nursing, tendered their resignations in the wake of the death of Vietnam vet Owen Reese Peterson.

Peterson eventually passed away from sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, but not before it was discovered he had an infestation of maggots in an open wound.

As reported;

Executive Director Myles Deering said the maggots were discovered while the patient was alive but were not the cause of his death. He said the man came into the center with an infection.

“He did not succumb as a result of the parasites,” Deering said Tuesday. “He succumbed as a result of the sepsis.”

The report from the newspaper never makes clear if the deceased arrived with the maggots already in the wound or after his admission to the state facility.

The Tulsa World also cited that “Deering said the facility staff discovered the maggots.” But curiously, ODVA spokesman Shane Faulkner stated, “All four chose to resign before the termination process began.”

The newspaper also noted;

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Oct. 13 received an incident report from the veterans center in Talihina, said Jamie Dukes, an Oklahoma State Department of Health spokeswoman.

Based on the report, “it was determined that the facility fully investigated the incident and took any appropriate actions,” Dukes said.

But that begs the question: If the faculty “took appropriate actions,” then why did one high-level and three mid-level staff members “chose to resign before the termination process began”?

Another seeming contradiction was that Raymie Parker, who was identified as the son of Mr. Peterson, placed the blame directly on the upper echelon of the bureaucracy.

“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 patient’s medication was increased during his care.

Parker said the floor nursing staff was outstanding, but he is displeased with the senior medical personnel and administration.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs official website, each of the Veterans Centers within their organization, to include the Talihina Veterans Center, are all “a long-term skilled nursing care facility for Veterans that is operated by the state of Oklahoma and approved by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.”

The official site for the Oklahoma State Legislature also sites that during Fiscal Year 2016, the ODVA received a whopping $88,150,846 from the federal government.

Despite that rather large sum of taxpayer dollars, that particular federal expenditure accounts for only 60 percent of the total funding for the state agency.


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