A doctor who filed a whistleblower complaint alleging substandard care at New Hampshire's medical center for veterans died following a car crash Tuesday.
Dr. William "Ed" Kois, 62, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was heading south in Hampton just before 4:30 p.m., state police said, when he left the road and drove into a grassy area in the center median before striking a guardrail. Troopers said they believe a medical event led to the crash.
Kois was later pronounced dead. He was director of the spinal cord clinic at the Manchester VA Medical Center.
"Dr. Kois improved care for veterans through his advocacy, collaboration and innovation," center director Alfred Montoya said in a statement. "He was incredibly passionate about the care he provided to our nation's heroes and he will truly be missed."
Top medical center officials were removed in 2017, an investigation was ordered and a task force was appointed after The Boston Globe reported complaints from Kois and other doctors.
The whistleblowers described a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren't always sterilized and patients whose conditions were ignored or weren't treated properly.
Kois, the first person to draw attention to insufficient care, had told a congressional subcommittee that he spent nearly two years trying to bring the problems to the attention of veterans affairs officials.
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A task force report in 2018 recommended the medical center expand its range of services, work more closely with the community and promote a culture that enhances accountability.
At the time, Kois said he called the report a good start.
"It's not where I want to be but better than what it used to be," he had said. "I would have hoped to have a full-service hospital, but I think I can work with community partners. Having an ambulatory care center and better facilities on campus and utilizing resources when appropriate is something we can work with."
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Kois' "compassion and conscience compelled him to raise awareness of unacceptable conditions at the Manchester VA, which continues to drive important changes to the delivery of care in Manchester."