A nurse at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ flagship medical center in Washington, D.C., is facing a criminal charge for allegedly falsifying records and lying to federal agents about her work on the night of a patient’s death.
In court filings, prosecutors said Layonu Omotosho was on duty and responsible for hourly checks on a 59-year-old patient in the 4C Ward, an inpatient medical unit, at the hospital in July 2019. In the court filings, prosecutors said Omotosho found the man unresponsive, with no pulse or blood pressure, shortly after 6 a.m. on the day of his death.
According to prosecutors, Omotosho told internal VA investigators she had performed hourly checks on the patient in the hours before his death. The court filings said, “(A VA police officer) asked the nurses present to produce the patient’s logs. Omotosho left and came back a few minutes later with the logs filled out and showing that she checked in on Patient hourly from the hours of 8:00 p.m. on July 7, 2019, to 6:00 a.m.” But in their filings with the court, prosecutors said video surveillance showed no one entering the patient’s room between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., before the man’s body was discovered.
According to the charging document filed by prosecutors, “Omotosho falsely stated and represented to agents of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General - Criminal Investigations Division that she had conducted hourly rounds checks for Patient during her overnight shift at the VA between on or about July 7, 2019, and July 8, 2019, when, in fact, she had not.”
Omotosho’s attorney did not immediately return requests for comment. Omotosho is facing a charge of making false statements. Her case is pending in federal court in Washington, D.C. The court docket does not show whether Omotosho has entered a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charge.
The patient death occurred just three weeks after a U.S. House Committee questioned the director of the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center about a separate series of incidents at the hospital. The incidents, dating back to 2017, include the overdose death of a patient in the medical center parking lot, the escape of a psychiatric ward patient and failures in the medical center blood bank.
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Medical center officials told the U.S. House panel it was making progress in staff training and in reducing adverse incidents at the facility.
In a statement about Omotosho’s case, the medical center told News 4, “The Washington DC VA Medical Center discovered these allegations and immediately reported them to the independent inspector general. Washington DC VAMC also immediately removed the individual from patient care.” The medical center said it is awaiting the completion of the internal review by the inspector general.