A nurse’s aide at a VA hospital in Massachusetts is accused of playing video games instead of checking on a patient—a Vietnam veteran. He died last year, the Boston Globe reported.
Bill Nutter, 68, lost his second leg to diabetes and had arrhythmia, which could stop his heart without any warning.
He was staying at the Bedford VA Medical Center, ranked by the Veterans Administration as one of the nation’s best hospitals.
Nutter was found dead on July 3, 2016, and a doctor at the VA hospital said that a staff member didn’t check on him hourly as they were required to do.
Patricia Waible, the nurse’s aide, admitted to playing video games at work instead of watching the veteran. Cameras at the hospital showed that she didn’t get up from her computer, the paper reported.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) October 17, 2017
Waible was suspended without pay, according to the newspaper.
Now, the VA inspector is investigating the allegations against the aide, along with assistance from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the FBI, reported the Boston Herald.
Reports say that the probationary nurse who found Nutter’s body made a slit-throat gesture as she told her boss about the incident. That nurse was later fired.
“I hold the VA responsible for all of this. They’re responsible for their employees,” the veteran’s daughter, Bridgette Darton, told the Globe. “How many other people did this lady cause issues with?”
“My dad might not have lived another five months, who knows? But if we could have had another month with him — this lady took that away,” Darton added to the paper.
A number of elected Massachusetts officials issued statements on the incident.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) wrote on Twitter: “This is a disgrace. Our veterans deserve better. I’ll be demanding answers and accountability from @DeptVetAffairs.”
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 17, 2017
Added U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D–Mass.) in a statement to the Herald: “When families trust the well-being of their loved ones to the VA, they deserve the peace of mind that comes with quality, compassionate care. That any veteran is subject to the treatment described today is unconscionable, and we must use every available resource to not only get to the bottom of what happened at the Bedford VA, but also to make sure it never happens again.”
Michael Hartigan, the spokesman for U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas (D–Mass.) , said: “A primary concern of hers has been that the Bedford VA has been without a permanent director for so long. She has repeatedly requested that VA and Administration officials update her directly with regard to actions they are taking to address complaints raised not only in these articles, but also by veterans who have reached out to our office directly,” the Herald reported.