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Virginia Attorneys > Blog > Medical Malpractice > West Virginia VA Hospital After Nurse Admits To Killing 7

West Virginia VA Hospital After Nurse Admits To Killing 7


A sixth lawsuit has been filed against the West Virginia VA hospital after a former nurse admitted that they killed 7 patients with fatal doses of insulin. To be sure, the lawsuit has been filed against the hospital and not the nursing assistant who killed the patients whose families have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the hospital alleging that widespread failures in supervision led to the seven deaths.

Nursing assistant Reta Mays pleaded guilty to seven counts of second-degree murder. She has yet to be sentenced for her crime, but she is likely to receive one life sentence for every life she took. Her motives remain unclear. Authorities never received a satisfactory response when she was asked why she killed the veterans. But in situations like this, it is often merely that the person simply enjoys being in a position of godlike power over someone else. The reason why they did it is often simply that it was just fun.

Is the VA liable for the nurse’s actions? 

The VA has argued that they should not be held accountable for May’s murders since she was acting outside the scope of her employment when she injected the veterans with insulin. However, in typical cases of assault committed by nursing home or hospital employees, the hospital is responsible for adequately failing to supervise the employee who murdered her patients.

In cases where nursing home residents are sexually assaulted by nursing home employees, it is not a defense to say that the sexual assault was outside the scope of the employee’s employment duties and therefore, the nursing home should not be held accountable. Of course murder and rape are outside the scope of the health care industry’s employment expectations. But nursing homes seldom try to advance such arguments in court when facing actions brought by family members.

Because the hospital hired the employee and then failed to adequately supervise them, seven people lost their lives. It was the nursing home that placed the veterans in harm’s way. It was the hospital that gave a murderous employee access to a dangerous drug she used to kill seven people, and so the hospital is now responsible for compensating seven families who lost loved ones due to the nursing home’s negligence.

Prior to last year, it was nearly impossible for veterans to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the VA until the prior administration passed legislation permitting torts filed by military members against the VA. Today, medical malpractice lawsuits can move forward against the VA.

Talk to a Roanoke, VA Medical Malpractice Attorney 

If you’ve been injured by the negligent practice of medicine, you are entitled to recover damages related to your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life. Call the Roanoke medical malpractice attorneys at MichieHamlett today to learn more about how we can help.



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