Family at center of VA investigation speak out

For the first time, the Monroe County family at the center of a Tomah VA death investigation speak out

MONROE CO., Wis. (WKBT) – For the first time, the Monroe County family at the center of a Tomah VA death investigation speak out.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General found mismanaged care by doctors and nurses at the Tomah VA contributed to the death of Nicholas Meeusen.

The 34-year-old died in May of 2019.

The VA released its investigation on Thursday.

The report found, among other things, Tomah VA doctors did not prescribe Meeusen adequate medication, and the nursing staff failed to complete all the required assessments.

The OIG is calling on the Tomah VA to make some improvements.

Meeusen’s parents say the report gives them some comfort, but they want the Tomah VA to take more responsibility.

“It’s hard understanding that Nick had some issues, and he was going through some problems, but if he would have went somewhere else, he would probably still be alive,” says Craig Meesusen, Nicholas’ father.

The Tomah VA responded to the report with a statement saying:

The Tomah VA staff and I extend our sincere condolences to the family of this Veteran and take this loss personally. While the April 2019 incident doesn’t represent the quality health care our Tomah VA Medical Center professionals provide daily, the OIG team did find opportunities and provided recommendations. We take these recommendations seriously and have already implemented process improvements.

It’s important to note that the OIG report did not address the Veteran’s entire course of care. Without a comprehensive review, attributing the Veteran’s clinical deterioration to Tomah VAMC is inconclusive.

Again, we offer our condolences and remain fully committed to implementing the recommendations and will diligently pursue all measures to ensure safe, high-quality care for the Veterans that we serve.

“It’s important they follow through with the recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General, and they fix those things instead of trying to divert the blame somewhere else,” says Craig Meeusen.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson released this statement: “I send my deepest condolences to the family of Nicholas Meeusen for their loss. My goal has always been to bring accountability and transparency to the VA and the VA Office of Inspector General, ensuring that the finest among us receive the high quality care they deserve. I will be following up with hospital leadership to further understand what happened and to discuss how improvements could be made to prevent additional tragedies in the future.”

News 8 Now will have more in the coming days from Nicholas Meeusen’s parents, including what it took to get the investigation into their son’s death, and how they hope it will lead to change at the Tomah VA.