October 05, 2018

Warren Calls on VA Inspector General to Provide Update on Criminal Investigation into Veteran's Death at Bedford VA

Senator Demands Clear, Substantive Update from Inspector General More Than Two Years After Veteran's Tragic Death

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Inspector General (IG) of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reiterate her request for an update on the status of the IG's criminal investigation into the death of a Vietnam veteran and patient, William R. Nutter, Jr., at the Bedford VA over two years ago.  Senator Warren initially requested the information last October, but the VA has provided no update other than indicating that the investigation into this tragedy is still ongoing. 

Bill Nutter, a veteran with two tours of duty in the Vietnam War and 21 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserves, died on July 3, 2016 allegedly in part due to the neglect of a nurse on duty who was playing video games and failed to monitor his condition.  Last October, Senator Warren wrote to then-Secretary Shulkin asking that he work to expedite the VA Inspector General's (IG) investigation into the allegations regarding Mr. Nutter's death at the Bedford VA, and brief her staff on its outcome. Shulkin responded in writing that the ongoing nature of the investigation compelled him to withhold any comment at the time. Senator Warren requested an update from the VA again last month and has yet to receive a briefing or formal written response.

In her letter, addressed directly to VA Inspector General Michael Missal, Senator Warren noted that Mr. Nutter's death occurred over two years ago, and her initial request was made nearly one year ago, but that the VA has yet to provide a meaningful update on the status of the investigation.

"Since Bill Nutter's death, more than two years have passed without the release of any public findings or conclusions by the Inspector General," wrote Senator Warren. "While I understand that the Inspector General requires time to conduct thorough and independent investigations, the family of Mr. Nutter deserves a full and transparent explanation of why he died, who was disciplined, and what steps have been or need to be taken to prevent any tragedy of this kind from occurring again."

Senator Warren called on the Inspector General to provide a clear, substantive update on the progress of its investigation and to publicly release its conclusions.