Joel Marrable, A Vietnam Veteran, Died At An Atlanta VA Nursing Home, Covered In Ant Bites

'He served his country in the Air Force, and I think that he deserved better,' said Marrable's daughter.

an old-fashioned hospital bed photographed in sepia tones
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

'He served his country in the Air Force, and I think that he deserved better,' said Marrable's daughter.

A Vietnam veteran died at an Atlanta Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing home with dozens of ant bites, Yahoo News reports. And the man’s daughter claims that staff were nothing short of nonchalant about the whole thing.

Joel Marrable had served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. However, beset by cancer, he lived his final days at the VA’s Eagle’s Nest Community Living Center, a nursing home for veterans on the Atlanta VA Medical Center campus.

His daughter, Laquna Ross, had gone to visit him when she noticed something amiss: his hands were swollen, his body covered with red bumps. When she asked a staff member about it, she was shocked by two things: what had caused the symptoms, and the staffer’s cavalier attitude about it.

“[The staff member] said, ‘You know, the ants.’ 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.'”

As Ross tells Atlanta’s WBST-TV, it seems that Mr. Marrable’s room had an ant infestation that staffers couldn’t get on top of. She says that staffers explained to her that his room had been covered with them — on walls, on the ceiling, on the beds — and that they bathed the patient and thoroughly scrubbed his room, only to see that the ants had come back the next day.

the department of veterans affairs seal
  Donkey Hotey / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

In a statement, the VA confirmed that ants were indeed found in a patient’s room at the Atlanta facility, and that appropriate steps were taken, both for the patient’s comfort and to thwart the spread of the vermin.

“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,” the statement reads in part.

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This is not the first time that a patient has been bedeviled by bugs. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a Phoenix nursing home was cited for failures in patient care after a male patient was found to have a wound infested by maggots under his bandage. It was the same nursing home where an incapacitated woman was raped, got pregnant, and then gave birth without anyone noticing her pregnancy.

Back in Atlanta, Laquna Ross isn’t prepared to say that it was the ant bites that caused her father’s death. But she does wonder if the bug bites didn’t hasten his death.

“Yes, he had cancer. Yes, he was going to die. 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?” she asks.