In his last two days, a dying Vietnam veteran was found covered in ants at a VA assisted-living center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Five days after her father Joel Marrable’s death, Laquana Ross spoke out to CNN, saying she’s not mad at the VA but hoping her father’s story will prompt change at the government agency responsible for the healthcare of veterans.
“I felt very small in the world Saturday when my dad died,” she told the outlet. “Now I am able to share his story and my dad matters to someone beyond me and my family. Now the world knows and the world cares that this happened.”
Marrable, 73, died on Saturday after a battle with cancer. Ross said workers at the Eagles’ Nest Community Living Center in Atlanta told her that on Friday, they went to check in on her father and found him covered in ants that left dozens of sores on his body.
The workers said they grabbed her father, stripped the bed, bathed him, cleaned the room, and put new sheets on the bed. But they didn’t move him from the room.
The next day, Ross said workers found her father covered in ants again. This time, the administrator on duty had him moved to another room where he was checked on every 15 minutes.
But just a few hours after being moved to the new room, Ross said her father died.
The Atlanta VA Health Care System said in a statement to CNN that it “always strives to provide Veterans with the very best health care available” and holds itself accountable when it doesn’t meet that standard.
“That’s why we have initiated a top-to-bottom review of this situation to ensure it never happens again,” the statement read. “We have apologized to the Marrable family and taken immediate action to correct this issue and ensure no other Veterans will be affected in the future.”
The VA told Atlanta-based CNN affiliate WSB that it has since stripped, inspected, and cleaned all of its bedrooms, removed all food from bedrooms, and is assisting residents in keeping their rooms clean.