Veteran Bill Nutter died at the Bedford VA medical center in 2016, while a nurse aide who was supposed to be checking in on him was playing video games.
At the time, Nutter was recovering at the Bedford VA, as he had recently lost his second leg to diabetes and also, more dangerously, suffered from a condition that would occasionally cause his heart to stop. Nutter’s wife, Carol, was eventually informed by a doctor that a nurse aide failed to check on Bill hourly, as she was supposed to. Instead, the aide, Patricia Waible, played video games on her computer, The Boston Globe reports.
The nurse who discovered Bill’s death the next day on July 3, 2016 announced it to her boss by sliding her finger across her throat, making a crude death sign.
The VA inspector general subsequently launched a criminal investigation into the death. The U.S. attorney’s office and FBI are also involved in determining the circumstances which led to Nutter’s demise.
Once Department of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin’s office learned of the incident Sept. 22, the office immediately suspended Waible with pay. Waible had been working in the cafeteria, as she was transferred out of her former position as nurse aide following Nutter’s death. The nurse who made the cut-throat signed was terminated.
“I hold the VA responsible for all of this. They’re responsible for their employees,” said Brigitte Darton, Bill Nutter’s daughter. “How many other people did this lady cause issues with?”
“I was hoping the VA would give him the care that non-VA facilities didn’t,” Darton added.
Members of Congress have erupted in response to The Boston Globe’s report. Matt Corridoni, a spokesman for Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton, told The Boston Herald that Moulton is set to speak with Shulkin about Nutter Thursday.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren also tweeted, “This is a disgrace. Our veterans deserve better. I’ll be demanding answers and accountability from @DeptVetAffairs.”
Notably, the Bedford VA has a five-star rating from the VA, which is the highest rating possible in the system.
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