It has established a permanent housekeeping staff, retrained workers and started new reporting procedures.
The VA finished the investigative summary December 4, but has not released a copy to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, despite a request made under the Freedom of Information Act January 9. The newspaper received a copy from another source.
The summary says staff at the Eagle’s Nest Community Living Center noticed ants in rooms and beds as early as June 4, and that veterans were bitten numerous times in July and August. Environmental Services began spraying some rooms for ants in July, but were using the wrong pesticide.
Workers noticed Marrable had multiple ant bites and found him “covered with ants” September 2, and a staff member said ants were found in his room a month before, the summary says. Again, on September 5, ants were found in his room and he had bites. The family was not notified. His daughter, Laquna Ross, found out September 6 during a visit, saw the numerous bites and questioned the staff. Marrable died September 7. An autopsy was done, but the results are blacked out on the summary.
Sacks said experts he consulted with believe the bites hastened his death.
After Ross reported the incident, a regional administrator was put on leave and retired shortly afterward. The region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members were reassigned.
Sacks said the Marrable family hopes the report will mark a turning point so this will not happen to other veterans and families.
The 34 residents of the Eagle's Nest were recently moved to other locations in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina to clear space in case of a surge of coronavirus cases.
ORIGINAL DOCUMENT: Read the VA report