Lawmakers demand answers for Army vet covered in ant bites at VA nursing home

Associated Press
September 12, 2019 - 3:09 pm
Ants

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“I am shocked, horrified and downright maddened by the news that a veteran under the care of the VA was treated so poorly and without any regard for his wellbeing,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs said in a statement released following reports of ant-infestations at an Atlanta VA nursing home.

A Georgia woman says her father was bitten more than 100 times by ants at a government veterans' home where the ceiling, walls and beds were covered by the insects.

Laquna Ross tells WSB-TV she found her father Joel Marrable with swollen, red bumps all over his body when she visited him at the nursing home near Atlanta last week before his death. Marrable, an Air Force veteran, had cancer.

The Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System said in a statement that it was told the ants were affecting patients. Isakson's office confirmed that at least three veterans were affected by the ant-infested conditions. The Atlanta VA Health Care System said all of the bedrooms at the Eagle's Nest Community Living Center have been cleaned and that a pest control company is monitoring conditions.

Ross says her father served his country she thinks "that he deserved better."

“This patient, at the end of his life, was clearly not being monitored closely enough, and I am so sad for his family who had to discover his insect-infested conditions before anything was reportedly done," Isakson said. "I have spoken with Deputy Secretary Byrne to demand answers and express my dissatisfaction across all levels of the VA for allowing this to occur and for failing to inform Congress about this incident until just hours before news broke. I’ve also spoken to the veteran’s daughter and offered my deepest condolences and offered to help in any way I can to ensure that her family is taken care of and that those who allowed these conditions to persist be held accountable to the fullest extent.”

According to the VA, the more than 100 ant bites Marrable sustained were unrelated to his recent passing from cancer. 

Connecting Vets reporter Elizabeth Howe contributed to this report.

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