CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Senator Manchin has urged U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials to speed up the investigation into the 11 suspicious deaths being investigated at the Clarksburg VA, according to a release from Senator Manchin’s Office.

Senator Joe Manchin spoke with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal and sent a letter to him and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Wednesday urging them to quickly conclude investigations into the 11 suspicious deaths being investigated at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, according to the release.

Ret. Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott Photo Courtesy of Melanie Proctor

One of the 11 suspicious deaths, that of Ret. Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott, was confirmed to be homicide. This announcement came in a release from senator Manchin’s office that was sent out on Wednesday afternoon.

According to the release, Manchin said in part, “In the interest of assisting grieving family members and restoring public confidence across West Virginia, I urge you to quickly complete your investigation into the potential homicides resulting from unexplained episodes of hypoglycemia at the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center (VAMC) in Clarksburg, West Virginia. I also ask you to contact grieving family members and share as much information as you can with them. Further, I ask you to establish a crisis hotline to answer questions from impacted Veterans and their families. As of this morning seven families have reached out to me, and they deserve answers and all of our support.”

The release included the following timeline, which details the steps Senator Manchin and his office have taken during the investigation.

  • On Thursday, July 5 2018, Senator Manchin’s office was notified by the VA Inspector General that at least nine in-patients at the Clarksburg VA hospital had been diagnosed with significant hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) of unclear cause over the past 9 months, and that they had opened a medical and criminal investigation into the matter.
  • On Friday, July 6 2018, Dr. Glenn Snider, the director of the Clarksburg VA, hosted a call with the West Virginia Congressional delegation to discuss the investigation. He reported the following chain of events:
    • On June 18 2018, several doctors reported 8 episodes of low blood sugar with no identified medical cause to the Clarksburg Quality Management (QM) team.
    • On June 26 2018, the QM team elevated the issue to Dr. Snider, who then called Under Secretary Steve Young at the VA Central Office to report the issue.
    • On July 2-3 2018, seven VA Inspector General (VAOIG) staff came to the Clarksburg VA to open an investigation.
  • On Wednesday, July 10 2018, Senator Manchin sent a letter to then-Acting Secretary of the VA Peter O’Rourke expressing serious concerns about the unexplained episodes of hypoglycemia at the Clarksburg VA. He also clearly stated that he expected VA leadership at every level to cooperate fully with the IG investigation.

To read Manchin’s letter to Secretary Wilkie and Inspector General Missal in its entirety, click here.