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Report cites Oklahoma veterans center, staff in man's death

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: March 19, 2017

TULSA, Okla. — A report on the death of a U.S. Navy veteran at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Talihina says the center didn't properly protect him and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs says four staff members face possible disciplinary action.

Seventy-year-old Leonard Smith of Sapulpa died at the center Jan. 31 after choking. A plastic bag was later found lodged in his throat.

The Tulsa World reported Sunday that state Health Department's Protective Health Services report includes the center failed to prevent neglect and failed to investigate earlier reports of Smith passing an examination glove in a bowel movement.

The center's corrective plan includes removing trash cans and bags from certain areas; safer storage of trash bags, gloves and wipes; discontinued use of Styrofoam cups; and regular checks for such hazards in the special-needs unit.

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