An Air Force veteran was attacked by hundreds of fire ants on 2 occasions at a Georgia residential facility before his death
- Joel Marrable was a resident of Eagles Nest Community Living Center in Decatur,
- He served in the
Air Forcefrom 1962 to 1968 and died aged 72.
- The family is seeking compensation of $20 million from the government and pest control company, Orkin.
The family of an Air Force veteran is suing the government after he was attacked by hundreds of fire ants on two occasions at a residential care facility shortly before his death.
Joel Marrable had been a resident of Eagles Nest Community Living Center, a long-term veterans care facility in Decatur, Georgia, when he died on September 7, 2019, aged 72, the Military Times reported.
However, the lawsuit filed in Atlanta's Federal District Court by his children, Laquna Ross, Jamal Ratchford, and Raquel Reed, suggests he died from the fire ant bites, according to The New York Times.
Marrable was first bitten on September 2, 2019, before being washed and temporarily moved to another room. After returning, he was attacked by them again on September 5, the Daily Mail noted.
The family is seeking compensation of $20 million from the government and pest control company, Orkin, and an unspecified amount of punitive damages from both, the Military Times added.
The autopsy conducted by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office at the Department of
The lawsuit added that before the ant bites, Marrable was "lucid and alert," but that soon changed, the Military Times reported. It said the "ant bite attack significantly weakened Mr. Marrable's resolve and caused extreme pain, suffering, discomfort, and anxiety.
"The second wave of fire ants that bit Mr. Marrable again over his arms, legs, trunk, and groin proved too much for his weakened body and spirit to bear."
The plaintiffs also said that the Eagles Nest Community Living Center's staff failed to prevent the fire ant infestation, remove insect-attracting food from patients' rooms and keep the rooms clean while Orkin officials failed to provide "appropriate and adequate pest control services," the Military Times added.
The VA's regional director was placed on immediate administrative leave, and in December 2020, officials announced that the Eagles Nest Community Living Center would permanently close.
Marrable served in the Air Force from December 1962 until his honorable discharge in July 1968.
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