Veteran Dies With Maggots In Wounds, 4 VA Staff Members Resign Immediately Afterwards

A veteran died after live maggots were found in his infected wounds.

Credit: High Plains Events

A 73-year-old veteran, Owen Reese Peterson, died after being treated at a veterans’ hospital in rural Oklahoma for several weeks. The Talihina Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed that Peterson had live maggots in his wounds prior to his death in October.

The director of the Department, Myles Deering, confirmed this but also stated that Peterson’s death was not related to the maggots and that he instead died of sepsis.

Peterson entered the facility with an infection that needed serious treatment and wound up with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication with an infection. Raymie Parker, who was Peterson’s son, told Tulsa World,

“During the 21 days I was there… I pled with the medical staff, the senior medical staff, to increase his meds so his bandages could be changed. I was met with a stonewall for much of that time.”

Parker clarified that it was the senior medical staff that would not listen to his pleas and that the nursing floor staff was great. In the wake of an investigation into the incident, 4 employees, including a physician’s assistant and 3 nurses, one of which was the director of nursing, resigned.

“All four chose to resign before the termination process began,” said Shane Faulkner, a spokesman for the agency.

According to Parker, he was attempting to have a morphine pump transplant for his father so that he could manage the pain that comes with each bandage change. He said he was ignored each time he brought up the request.

Part of the issue is that the facility had trouble finding and retaining staff members, one of which was an on-site medical director, whose spot was vacant at the time Peterson was there. That medical director was needed to approve the morphine pump, but the lack of staffing caused the veteran to go without the necessary pain medication that could have eventually prevented the sepsis from developing.

Legal charges are expected to stem from the incident, and hopefully the current employees and this branch of Veterans’ Affairs will learn from this experience when considering treatment for future patients.

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