Woman says her father was bitten 100+ times by ants before death at VA hospital

U.S. & World

ATLANTA (WFLA/CNN) – The Department of Veterans Affairs in Atlanta is making changes after the daughter of a Georgia Vietnam veteran would her father bit over 100 times by ants.

Laquna Ross says she is overwhelmed after she found her dad with swollen, red, bumps all over his body, and his hands swollen when she visited him last week at the Eagles Nest Community Living Center, a nursing home for veterans on the Atlanta VA Medical Center campus.

“Worried and confused, because it wasn’t how he looked when I saw him the last time,” Ross said.

Ross’ father, Joel Marrable, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

She says her father was already in poor health before the incident.

“Yes, he had cancer. Yes, he was going to die,” Ross said.

Ross said when she asked a center staffer about all the bumps, the staffer told her it was because of ants. Marrable was bitten more than 100 times, according to Ross.

“His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere,” Ross said. “The staff member says to me, ‘When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn’t even alive, because the ants were all over him.’”

Ross described how center workers bathed Marrable and cleaned his room but said the next day, they had an issue with the ants again.

Marrable got moved to a new room, where Ross said he later died.

“If it didn’t promote his body to die quicker, what is the protocol within the VA just to manage when something like this happens?” Ross said.

And while Ross is still waiting for those answers, the one thing she knows for sure: “He served his country in the Air Force, and I think that he deserved better.”

The VA said in a statement:

“The Atlanta VA health care system leadership team has been notified that ants were found in our community living center and impacting patients. CLC staff immediately cared for the veterans and took action to ensure no other CLC residents were impacted. We would like to express our heartfelt remorse and apology to the veterans families and have reached out to them to offer appropriate assistance. Atlanta VA health care system always strives to provide veterans with the very best health care available. When we don’t meet that standard, we hold ourselves accountable.”

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