The Talihina, Oklahoma VA is under fire again – the second time in four months – for the care and treatment of a resident at the facility. Four months ago, one resident at the facility was found with maggots in his wound. He died shortly thereafter of sepsis, unrelated to the maggots. Now, a second resident at the Talihina, Oklahoma VA has suffered a premature death. The circumstances surrounding the death of this second resident, a seventy-year-old man, remain unclear, but an alleged witness reports that the death “was not of natural causes,” and believes “the [medical examiner’s] office will confirm that.”
According to a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, VA officials have classified this Veteran’s death as a “sentinel event.” Sentinel events are unanticipated events, occurring in a health care setting, resulting in death or serious injury to a patient, unrelated to the natural course of the patient’s injury.
When a death is determined to be a sentinel event, the VA must report the death for further investigation by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ Adult Protective Services program. Thus far, three separate agencies are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.
Although the cause of death is currently unknown, as soon as the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office receives the results of pending toxicology tests, they will reportedly be able to provide information as to the cause and manner of death.