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Westmoreland County Man's Death Ruled A Homicide After VA Hospital Treatment In West Virginia

CLARKSBURG, W. Va. (KDKA) -- The death of a military veteran from Ruffs Dale in Westmoreland County is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit following treatment at a veterans hospital.

Retired Sergeant Felix McDermott died April 8, 2018, at the Loius A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia after he was injected with a fatal dose of insulin while at the center, the complaint said.

He was admitted three days before his death because developed aspiration pneumonia.

McDermott was one of nine or 10 patients at the center that died as a result of unexplained low blood sugar, the complaint reads.

The complaint said each person received a large and wrongful injection of insulin in the abdomen that wasn't ordered by a doctor or medically necessary.

"It's all very disturbing that people can serve their country that are being killed either extremely negligently, grossly negligently or intentionally," the McDermott family attorney Tony O'Dell said.

(Photo Credit: McDermott Family)

The complaint said McDermott did not have diabetes, though he suffered from dementia and was physically disable because of a previous stroke.

McDermott's family was not told about how low blood sugar caused his death. They learned months later after government investigators contacted McDermott's daughter, telling her about the early deaths and a belief how her father's death was not from natural causes.

The inspector general ordered McDermott's remains exhumed in October 2018, and they were flown to Dover Air Force Base for an autopsy.

The complaint says an autopsy revealed there were no hospital orders for the administration of insulin, and McDermott was wrongfully, negligently or intentionally injected.

The autopsy also revealed McDermott received an insulin shot in the left side of his abdomen, was not diabetic and had no history of insulin use.

The report indicated that the retired sergeant's medical condition was clearly improving when he was injected with insulin.

His death was ruled a homicide, and the VA investigators have a person of interest in the death.

"Each time one of these deaths happened, they had an obligation," O'Dell said. "They had an obligation to run it to ground to find out what happened, why it happened, how it can be prevented."

McDermott was a Vietnam veteran and was a member of the U.S. Army and Pennsylvania National Guard.

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