CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – An 85-year-old Doddridge County native, who lived in Barbour County later in his life, has become the latest person named as a potential victim in the ongoing investigation of suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg.
Retired Army Veteran Archie D. Edgell died in March 2018, four days after he was admitted to the Clarksburg VA hospital.
“We have a copy of the autopsy report, and it appears very clear that he [Edgell] was given unprescribed insulin while at the hospital that caused his death,” said Dino Colombo, the attorney representing Edgell’s family. “We have evaluated his medical records. At no time during his hospitalization should he have any insulin given to him.”
Colombo said that records indicate Edgell was given multiple injections of unauthorized insulin.
“There are multiple, extraordinarily-low blood sugars that occurred during his hospitalization that there are no explanations for,” Colombo said.
Colombo also said medical records show that Edgell came in with a slightly high blood sugar level of 165 and orders for insulin to be withheld. However, his blood sugar levels suddenly dropped for no apparent reason. Edgell died four days after being admitted to the hospital.
“These are just wonderful people who served their country, and it’s just a tragedy what happened to them,” Columbo said, referring to the veterans who died under suspicious circumstances at the VA hospital. The deaths of two veterans have been ruled as homicides, while multiple other deaths are under investigation. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) also expressed her concern and frustration with the situation.
“For these families, and for all of us, really, general public and veterans who use the VA, this has been a tortuous leaking out, dribbling out of information. And so I would just hope that we can get all the information out and act on it as quickly as possible. That’s what I’m pushing for,” said Capito.
Colombo said an Office of Inspector General investigator went to the Edgell family’s home in November 2018 to ask permission from the family to exhume Edgell’s body.
“Right from the beginning, Steve Edgell knew that something was wrong. He said something along the lines [of], ‘You know they killed my father, didn’t they?’ and the OIG investigator said, ‘We’re concerned about that.'”
The autopsy report does not specifically rule Edgell’s death as a homicide, according to Colombo. Colombo issued the following information regarding Edgell’s autopsy report.
During his [Edgell’s] hospitalization, his diabetic medication of injectable Detemir and oral Metformin were held. From 24-25 March 2018, there were multiple fingerstick glucose troughs of less than 35 mg/dL. These hypoglycemic events were refractory to multiple ampules of D50 solution and 5% dextrose intravenous solution. These findings are strongly suspicious for unprescribed exogenous insulin administration during his hospitalization.