Gross: Vermin Found Inside Florida VA Hospital Kitchen

Posted: Jun 27, 2015 9:00 AM
Gross: Vermin Found Inside Florida VA Hospital Kitchen

This story broke some time ago, but it’s nevertheless worth flagging.

Unconscionably, vermin — and pests — reportedly invaded the kitchen of a Florida Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital. The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Workers at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center reported "3 large dead rats that fell through the kitchen ceiling" at the hospital during renovation work Wednesday night, according to emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

They then sent color photos of the rats to the facility's infection prevention coordinator, Miriam Ruisz, and also told her about a cockroach infestation, emails show.

I almost gagged reading that. Sadly, however, these shocking news stories are all too common these days. After all, remember when ex-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki was forced out of his cabinet post last year after an investigative report found that dozens of veterans died of neglect and malfeasance at a Phoenix hospital? But the problems only seemed to unravel after that: We later learned that tens of thousands of patients were waiting endlessly to see a doctor as hospitals all over the country systematically — and knowingly — worked overtime to cover up their record of failure. And despite generous subsidies from Washington, we learned days ago that wait times have all but increased.

“Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of VA malfeasance,” former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) concluded in an oversight study investigation published in 2014. That statistic, my friends, should concern every single American, not just veterans and their families.

Florida’s senior Senator responded to the Times' bombshell:

“I mean this is ridiculous," said Senator Nelson.

And here’s Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL):

Rubio said he was "alarmed" by a recent Tampa Bay Times report that revealed how three dead rats fell through the ceiling of the hospital's kitchen last week during work to install new fire sprinklers. Internal hospital emails from the facility's infection chief also said the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital has a cockroach infestation.

"Improved conditions at" Haley "are critical for veterans in the Tampa Bay area," Rubio wrote in a letter to Haley interim director Sallie Houser-Hanfelder.

And everywhere else as well. Providing clean and safe hospitals is the very least Uncle Sam can do.