Four employees at the Talihina Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) center have resigned after a patient was found with maggots in his wound shortly before he died.
Talihina director Myles Deering confirmed the maggots didn’t enter the wound after the patient died on Oct. 3, but rather were present while the patient was still alive.
However, Deering stressed that the patient did not die from the maggots themselves.
“He did not succumb as a result of the parasites,” Deering said, Tulsa World reports. “He succumbed as a result of the sepsis.”
Deering also serves as secretary of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which is separate from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
The 73-year-old veteran, Owen Reese Peterson, initially came to the medical center with an infection, but then ended up with sepsis, to which he later succumbed.
Four staff members at the facility have resigned: a physician’s assistant and three nurses.
The Oklahoma VA has since reported the maggot incident to the Oklahoma State Department of Health and has sent over a report to the district attorney, which means charges may be forthcoming.
Peterson’s son, Raymie Parker, described his frustration with how poorly his father was treated while at the facility, even though he tried his best to be an advocate for his care.
Staff seemed to completely ignore him.
“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 told Tulsa World. “I was met with a stonewall for much of that time.”
And yet, as far as Parker is concerned, the nurses were excellent. He placed the blame instead on senior medical staff and the bureaucracy.
In late November, Deering was given a raise by the Oklahoma Veterans Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
The raise amounted to an extra $15,000 a year and was controversial at the time not because of the maggots scandal, but because of the closure of a vets’ facility and the fact that the state budget is incredibly tight.
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