VA hospital allowed cockroaches on food trays

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A whistleblower brought attention to the fact that cockroaches have been a “persistent presence” at an Illinois veterans hospital, initiating an inspection by the Veterans Affairs Department’s Office of Inspector General.

“During our unannounced site visit on May 10, 2016, we found dead cockroaches on glue traps dispersed throughout the facility’s main kitchen. We observed conditions favorable to pest infestation,” said the inspector general in a report dated Wednesday.

Administrators were reportedly aware of the infestation at the Edward Hines Jr. VA hospital in Hines, Ill., but failed to effectively do anything about it.

“We substantiated that at least several patients received food trays with cockroaches on them,” the report revealed. “We reviewed emails from mental health staff to (nutrition and food service) managers from March 11, 2011 through December 28, 2015, and a (mental health) report dated March 13, 2014, that reported six complaints from patients that cockroaches were present on food trays delivered from the facility’s main kitchen to the MH unit via a transportation cart.”

Lack of stable leadership at the hospital was blamed as the reason the problem was allowed to persist. “Between 2011 and 2016, the hospital had 10 different directors,” according to the report.

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