James A. Haley Veteran Affairs Hospital has a roach and rat problem.
An email sent by the facility’s infection prevention coordinator, Mariam Ruisz released by the Tampa Bay Times revealed three large rats fell through the ceiling during construction work and the roach problem is so bad they have ended up on some patients food trays.
The email also said:
I have also been made aware that there is a major roach problem in the kitchen and that some roaches have been found on patients’ trays. I was told that 2 months ago when FMS replaced the Canteen kitchen ceiling they “filled multiple buckets with roaches, dead rats and feces.
Ruisz went on to say:
Obviously if someone sent me the pictures, we could possibly end up on the news, not to mention, risk patient safety.
Emails also show that workers have known about the infestation for awhile. They have been putting rat traps above ceiling tiles where food is prepared for veterans.
In a statement emailed to the Times, Haley spokeswoman Karen Collins said:
Being in a tropical, urban environment, we are keenly aware of the potential of, and continually monitor for, any pest control issues.
Recently, we observed an uptick in reported pest-related activities. . .
We have developed an aggressive and proactive plan to address it.
Collins went on to say they awarded a five-year pest control contract recently and if there are any issues the company will respond to eliminate it.
It was further reported by the Times, in 2013 rat droppings were found in a storage area that contained nursing supplies.
Current emails show there is a pest problem in at least two areas of the hospital. One of the locations is on the first floor of the main hospital building. That is where they prepare food served to veterans. The second area is a smaller kitchen on the second floor of the hospital canteen. That is where veterans, employees and visitors can purchase food.
Back in 2013, Haley officials said the pest control they had in place eliminated any fears of an infestation but in 2014 hospital safety and infection control officials told VA employees via email anyone entering the basement under the kitchen should wear gloves, a full-face respirator and a full-body protective suit because it was filthy and covered with bugs and debris.