Serial Killers within VA Healthcare System


Serial Killers within VA Healthcare System
by Jere Beery, Operation Firing For Effect

Left, Paul H. Kornak, who posed as a doctor for veterans, in 1999.

Let me begin by stating the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system employs some of the best physicians and nursing staff, not only here in the U.S.A., but in the entire world. And this article is not intended to tarnish their honor or integrity in any way. The very last thing anyone wants to do is discourage veterans from going to their VA medical centers and hospitals for needed treatment. However, having said that, the truth is the truth, and I feel a very strong obligation to my fellow veterans to report the facts as I know them.

On November 22, 2005 convicted VA murder Paul Kornak was Sentenced in U.S. District Court in Albany, New York to 71 months in federal prison, just under 6 years. Kornak, (a fake VA doctor) pleaded guilty to a 41 count grand jury indictment including murder and negligent homicide for the deaths of 5 veterans in 2002 at VAMC Albany, NY. Kornak never completed medical school but was allowed to sit as, and sign his name as Dr. Kornak. He then falsified patient records of over 70 veteran inpatients, and entered veterans into a clinical trial for cancer treatment that they were not eligible to be in. The department of Veterans Affairs claims this was an isolated incident’. However, an Operation Firing For Effect (OFFE) investigation shows Paul Kornak is merely the latest in a line of medical personnel to be caught murdering veterans within the VA medical system…

In the latter part of 2002, a former nurse at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Miami Florida pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a veteran patient. VA nurse James Mullins had been charged with second-degree murder in the death in February 2001 of Gary Baker, 53, who was injected with propofol, a sedative that can slow or stop respiration. Mullins was suspected in several other untimely deaths of veterans as well.

Also in 2002, VA nurse Richard A. Williams was charged with the murder of 10 veteran patients under his care at Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in 1992. Forty-one patients under Williams’ care died that year.

In 2001, VA nurse Kristen Gilbert was found guilty of killing her patients at a Veterans Administration medical center in Northampton, Massachusetts. Authorities got suspicious when patients began dying during her shift, tripling the rate of deaths over the previous three years. In the seven years she worked at the VA Hospital, 350 deaths had occurred during her shift, statistically impossible to attribute to coincidence. Gilbert was sentenced to four consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

In late 2000, Dr. Michael Swango (aka: Dr. Death), was suspected of administering lethal injections to as many as 35 people. Swango pled guilty to deliberately causing the deaths of 3 veterans at the VA Medical Center in Northport, New York. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Swango was suspected of many more deaths of veterans.

According to unnamed FBI sources, in several of these murders investigations the VA made it extremely hard for investigators to gain access to a crime scene, evidence, patient medical records, logs, and staff personnel records. There is little doubt that valuable evidence disappeared or degraded because of the delays, and VA staff was less than willing to cooperate with FBI agents. Evidently, it is very difficult for one government agency to investigate another without miles of red tape and without being delayed days and even weeks.     

Collectively, Kornak, Mullins, Williams, Gilbert, and Swango may very well be responsible for over 350 deaths, most being sick veterans in VA hospitals. The real questions are; how many more serial killers remain undetected in the VA healthcare system? And how many isolated incidents’ have to occur before they are no longer considered isolated? If you remember the My Lai Massacre resulted in between 347 and 500 innocent Vietnamese killed, the magnitude of hundreds of possible murdered veterans begins to sink in. However, no one will ever know the real number killed, the best we can do is make an educated guess.

The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), is currently investigating the hiring practices used by the Department of Veterans Affair.

Know your rights! You have the right to ask ANY VA doctor or nurse to show you their credentials and diplomas. If you have any doubt about doctors you are seeing, do not hesitate to ask for proof that they are who they say they are. If they refuse to show you their medical diplomas, I suggest you think twice before allowing him/her to practice medicine on you. This rule applies to ANY doctor you may see, both in the VA and the private sector.    

[NOTE:] Currently the Department of Veterans Affairs does not require a VA doctor/physician to hold a medical license in the state that they are practicing in. In other words, it is impossible to find out background information on a VA doctor, as they are not required to register with state medical boards. This is a practice the VA has used for decades. It allows them to send medical professionals to go from VA hospital in another state and practice without having to obtain the approval from the state.  A VA doctor in Atlanta may be needed in at a VA hospital in Tampa. This doctor is not required to notify the State Medical Boards in either state. And they are protected by the VA from malpractice law suits.

OFFE would like to hear from it’s readers concerning this story. In fact, we suggest you contact your elected officials to voice your concerns as well. Send your comments to; [email protected]  

Author Details
Although Jere Beery only served 4 years in the U.S. Navy, he has an impressive military history. Twenty seven months of that service was in the combat waters of Vietnam. His first duty station in 1965 was aboard the USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, (LST-1167) as a Seaman. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was involved in many operations within the combat waters of South Vietnam and received many awards and accolades for her service. The WESTCHESTER COUNTY was the recipient of 15 Battle Stars for her 19 years of service. LST-1167 was one of only 3 ships of her type to earn 15 Battle Stars (out of over 1200 LSTs built since before WWII). Beery’s second duty station in 1967 was with the legendary PBRs of the Brown Water Navy. As a volunteer, Beery saw combat on a fairly routine basis with this elite group and their high speed patrol craft. On March 1, 1968, Beery’s patrol was ambushed by a sizeable force of NVA and Viet Cong. The boat Beery was aboard took two direct RPG hits to her starboard side badly wounding four members of the boat’s crew. Seaman Beery was the most severely wounded and not expected to live. The first RPG had exploded right where Beery was standing as he manned his 50 caliber machine gun. To this day, Beery contributes his survival to the live-saving actions of his patrol officer, LT. RICHARD GODBEHERE and his other crew members. Beery spent the next year and a half hospitalized and recovering from his wounds. THE GODBEHERE PATROL On November 1, 1968, while Jere Beery was recuperating at NAS Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY was attacked on the My Tho river. At 03:22 in the morning two very large mines were detonated on the ship’s starboard side. 25 men were killed, 17 were ship’s crew. Several of the men killed that morning were friends and former shipmates of Beery’s. This incident has gone down in history as the greatest loss of life by the U.S. Navy in a single attack during the entire Vietnam War. USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY In mid-1969, Jere Beery was medically retired from the Navy. His service record reflects 1 Bronze Star, 3 Purple Hearts, and 5 military campaigns in Vietnam. Beery was also rated totally and permanently disabled by the Veterans Administration. Over the years since Vietnam, Jere Beery has attempted to do some things many thought impossible for someone with physical injuries such as his. During the early 80s, Jere Beery, as a member of the Screen Actors Guild pursued a brief career in the motion picture business as an actor. Beery landed a few small parts in a number of movies and television programs. On several occasions, to the amazement of many, Beery even executed his own stunts. In the 1986, Jere Beery gave up his career in the movies to crusade for his fellow veterans. Since that time, veteran’s rights advocate Jere Beery has been a noted driving force in the Veteran’s Rights Movement and effort to improve services for our veterans. Beery’s efforts have been extremely well documents and many articles have been written about his quest. A few of these articles can be found on this page. You can also type the words “Jere Beery” into any search engine to find out more about Beery’s efforts. Jere Beery’s multifaceted story is truly an amazing one. From his survival in Vietnam, to risking additional injury executing stunts in the motion pictures, to fighting to protect the benefits earned by our troops, Jere Beery has forged his own trail and continues to amaze and baffle many. – Place and Date of Birth: Orlando, Fl – 03/13/48 – Raised: St. Augustine, Fl – Place & Date Enlistment: Jacksonville, Fl – 05/20/65 – Branch of service: U.S. Navy – Highest Rate/Rank: E4/PO3/Signalman Third Class – Duty Stations: USS WESTCHESTER COUNTY, LST-1167 and TF116, River Patrol Force, River Section – 511, (PBRs), Binh Thuy, RSVN – Date of Discharge: 5/14/69 – Type of Discharge: Honorable, Medically Retired – VA Rating: 100% Totally and Permanently Disabled Military Awards and Medals: – 1 Bronze Star – w/combat “V” Citation – 3 Purple Hearts – (1/5/68, 2/14/68, 3/1/68) – Vietnam Service Medal – w/1 Silver Star – (5 military campaigns in-country, RSVN) – Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Medal – w/1960 device – Combat Action Ribbon – Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon – Presidential Unit Commendation Ribbon – National Defense Medal – Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Gallantry Cross Medal Color, w/Palm – Republic Of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation – Civil Actions Medal, First Class Color, w/Palm Military Training: – River Patrol Craft Training, (PBR), Mare Island, CA – Special Weapons Training, Mare Island, CA – J.E.S.T. (Jungle Environmental Survivor Training) – Cubi Point, Philippines – S.E.R.E. (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Training) – Whidbey Island, Washington State – Vietnamese Language – Mare Island, CA.
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