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Our veterans served their country, often in difficult circumstances and inhospitable places. But their medical treatment when they returned home left much to be desired. Bad conditions and mismanagement at Veterans Affairs medical centers have made headlines in recent years. One center in West Virginia is being investigated after a series of deaths.

Recently, a federal medical examiner found that the death of Vietnam veteran Felix Kirk McDermott in 2018, at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was caused by insulin being injected into his abdomen, a potentially-deadly procedure for someone who isn’t diabetic.

A report in Task & Purpose noted McDermott, an 82-year-old Vietnam veteran who served in the Pennsylvania National Guard, was admitted to the West Virginia VA hospital on April 6, 2018 for pneumonia. He suffered from physical disabilities and dementia after a stroke. His health was improving before he unexpectedly died three days after admission to the hospital.

A wrongful death claim on behalf of McDermott’s family noted the Vietnam veteran’s death is being treated as a homicide.

The claim noted McDermott was not a diabetic. It stated there was no reason why he should have received an insulin injection. His family sought $5 million for wrongful death and $1 million for personal injury.

The claim stated before McDermott’s death on April 9, 2018, as many as 10 other patients at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, died suddenly and unexpectedly from low blood sugar, described as  “unexplained severe hypoglycemia.” The claim stated:

“The employees of the VAMC were aware of each of the unexpected and suspicious deaths. Each of these nine or ten patients had received a large and wrongful injection of insulin in the abdomen that was neither ordered by a doctor or medically necessary.”

Veterans Administration hospitals face countless allegations of medical malpractice and even staff deliberately harming elderly patients.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called for answers over how a Bedford VA nurse allegedly diverted morphine from a hospice patient, causing him to suffer on the day before his death, the Boston Herald reported.

Warren said she is tired of hearing about horrifying reports of mistreatment of patients at the facility.

She called for answers into the death in July 2016 of Vietnam War veteran William R. Nutter Jr. According to reports, he died at the Bedford facility when an on-duty nurse was playing video games and not carrying our mandatory hourly checks on her patient.

The abuse of veterans appears to be widespread. In 2018, an inspection company cited 52 out of 99 VA nursing homes for serious deficiencies. These lapses caused “actual harm” to veterans. The private company that conducted the inspections found veterans were in jeopardy due to serious conditions at eight facilities.

The inspection team found serious examples of medical malpractice. Workers at more than two dozen VA nursing homes failed to ensure bedsores healed or new ones did not form on patients. Bedsores are associated with immobile patients. They form when staff fail to move the patients and can be deadly.

In 2017, the inspector general’s office for the Department of Veterans Affairs substantiated a portion of a complaint claiming inadequate patient care at the Hampton VA Medical Center’s nursing home.

The Daily Press reported the inspector general’s office found five of the 15 assertions made about services at the Hampton VA’s “Community Living Center” contained merit. Several others could not be substantiated or were unfounded.

Talk to an Injury Lawyer over Mistreatment at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Hampton Roads has a long and proud military tradition. While we owe our veterans a great debt, Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and nursing homes often fail to give them the standard of care they deserve. We are horrified by some of the accounts of mistreatment at VA facilities. Please talk to the lawyers at the Smith Law Center today about elder abuse or wrongful death lawsuits at a VA facility. Our experienced trial lawyers have a long track record in fighting big business and institutions like the VA. Please contact us for a free consultation.

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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