Ex-Nursing Assistant Pleads Guilty in West Virginia VA Medical Center Insulin Deaths

Posted

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Medscape MEdical News

July 16, 2020

Ex-Nursing Assistant Pleads Guilty in Insulin Deaths in West Virginia Insulin Deaths

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A former nursing assistant and Army veteran pleaded guilty to federal murder charges this week in connection with the 2017–2018 deaths of seven patients in a West Virginia veteran's hospital, according to news reports.

Prosecutors said in court documents filed on July 13 that Reta Mays, 46, injected lethal doses of insulin into seven veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center (VAMC) in rural Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Their blood glucose levels plummeted, and each died shortly after their injections, according to the Tennessean...

..The documents indicate that in June 2018, a hospitalist employed by VAMC Clarksburg reported concern about several deaths from unexplained hypoglycemic events in the same ward and noted that many of the affected patients did not have diabetes...

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/934053?nlid=136453_4622

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

What on earth could be a possible motive? In these situations I always wonder how many people thought something was off, to whom they reported their concerns and how long it took for action.

Silver_Rik, ASN, RN

Specializes in Perioperative / RN Circulator. Has 1 years experience.

I want to know how a nurse aide had access to insulin, especially to do this 7 times? A nursing assistant shouldn't have access to any medications (unless certified as a medication aide in LTC and then only oral meds) and every place I've worked insulin requires two RNs to pull from the Pyxis

2 hours ago, Silver_Rik said:

I want to know how a nurse aide had access to insulin, especially to do this 7 times? A nursing assistant shouldn't have access to any medications (unless certified as a medication aide in LTC and then only oral meds) and every place I've worked insulin requires two RNs to pull from the Pyxis

My initial thoughts exactly.

Silver_Rik, ASN, RN

Specializes in Perioperative / RN Circulator. Has 1 years experience.

Today I learned you can buy insulin at WalMart without an RX

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

On 7/18/2020 at 4:05 PM, Silver_Rik said:

Today I learned you can buy insulin at WalMart without an RX

It has been that way since I became a nurse in the 70's. The rationale was so that if you were traveling and lost or ran out of yours, you would be able to get it. Now because of being able to transmit prescriptions over the internet we could change that. When my cat was on Lantus I did have to have a prescription. The syringes have always required an RX.

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In all states new, insulin analogs DO require a prescription. These include Humalog, Novolog, or Apidra, as well as Lantus."

Insulin that is non analog is sold without prescription in all states except Alaska and Virginia.

What the what? Who does that?

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

On 7/18/2020 at 2:05 PM, Silver_Rik said:

Today I learned you can buy insulin at WalMart without an RX

Yes, I heard that as well and about a year ago went to walmart to see if this was true. I purchased a bottle of regular insulin R 100 units per Ml 10 ml for $29.99. I felt like I was doing some kind of drug deal the whole time. Also veterinary websites sell insulin for similar prices.

I even told my physician that since I could get it so cheaply I probably didn't need the fancy pen delivery system. but I actually have zero co-pay through my insurance.

Hppy

On 7/29/2020 at 6:55 PM, NurseBlaq said:

What the what? Who does that?

someone who is mentally ill or angry or who is curious about what it feels like to be so powerful as to cause death or be stealthy and evade detection or  ???  Someone might think he is doing a favor to suffering people?  Or???  someone protesting too heavy an assignment?  someone who is a whacko

Sometimes a suffering patient might ask for mercy/assisted suicide or homicide.  But if you help the sufferer to be clean, more comfortable, fed, and feeling cared for, he or she, in my experience, has always said they feel better and they have been ready to continue living.

In other words, if we do our jobs with knowledge, skill, kindness and compassion, maybe some humor, our patients don't ask for help to die.  They might still not be totally happy but they at least feel like they want to go on another day.  

On 7/17/2020 at 5:36 PM, TriciaJ said:

What on earth could be a possible motive? In these situations I always wonder how many people thought something was off, to whom they reported their concerns and how long it took for action.

And if they did report, did the people to whom they reported take appropriate, swift action?

Genene Jones, LVN in Texas back in the 80's/ '90's was giving heparin to people in ICU.  They would bleed, arrest.  She would race to their beds and try to rescue them.  The bosses were aware that this happened when she was on duty but not when she wasn't.  They banned LVN's from ICU instead of going after her.  

She went to work for a pediatrician, where she "vaccinated" kids with succinylcholine.  Why was that med even in a doc's office?  It is a respiratory muscle paralytic, used in surgery by 1qualified Anesthesia personnel.

Jones would do CPR when these kids quit breathing and she was the hero when she revived them. However, she managed to kill 2 of them.   I guess autopsy eventually brought out the truth.  This happened at the time I had young kids and I refused vaccinations for them because of her.  Fortunately, the doc understood and arranged for me to see the unopened containers of the vaccines before they were drawn up right in my presence.  So the kids did get vaccinated.  🙄

There is Charles Cullen, there are other "Angels of Death".   Some folks are just "off".  

A patient once c/o to me that his aide was rude, mean, scary.  I told my boss, she told hers.  They let the gal resign.  She went to another facility and was working again as an aide, probably gloating and thinking how slick she was to have evaded any real consequences, having learned nothing.

A nurse anesthetist at my employment place was stealing Valium from the Recovery Room.  Admin let him resign, too.  He went to another OR and was working again in very short order, never having received punishment or even any help for his sickness.   These rat employers are afraid of lawsuits and they don't care who they jeopardize - workers, patients, anybody.

A surgeon in our OR was known to be a drinker, before my time there. Another nurse told me they sometimes literally had to hold him up to operate.  Everyone in power knew, no one reported him.