Report Reveals Abuse and Neglect At Oklahoma Veteran Homes

Friday, May 4th 2012, 10:18 pm
By: News 9

A year-long investigation reveals shocking allegations of mistreatment at VA centers in Oklahoma.

The Journal Record and OETA investigation uncovered a pattern of neglect, theft, abuse, rape allegations and premature death at several of Oklahoma's veteran centers.

Click here to read more about the investigation.

News 9 spoke with Vietnam veteran Mike Simmons who says he is one of the many victims. Simmons spends his days at Norman's VA center battling multiple sclerosis and what he calls a "problematic administration".

"[The administration] does everything it can to protect the institution, and in doing so, sacrifices the veterans," Simmons said.

Simmons has lived at the Norman VA center for seven years. He says there are many good people who work at the center, but there are still those who are unqualified. He says there is also the problem of understaffing.

"The staffing problem has gotten so bad that there were some nights we only had one LPN and two nurses' aides for 50 beds," Simmons said. "I laid there in respiratory distress for 19 minutes, and that's why they find people dead in here all the time."

According to the Journal Record, there are at least six pending lawsuits claiming negligent medical treatment against VA centers in Oklahoma.

The Journal Record has reported that in 2007 a family was awarded $175,000 after a patient at the Norman VA center suffered a stroke and died three days later after losing more than 20 percent of his body weight. In 2011, an employee at the Norman VA center was charged with rape and forcible oral sodomy against patients with advanced dementia.

Simmons is calling on the governor to make drastic changes at VA centers throughout the state. News 9 called the VA on Friday, but no one was available to answer questions.