Chicago’s Hines VA Hospital has become so infested with cockroaches that the bugs have worked their way into the meals of veterans receiving treatment. The VA is denying there is a problem despite testimony from dozens of employees and patients.
Kelvin Gilkey, a Dietetic technician for the VA, states that the problem has been going on for years. According to Gilkey some patients have become so repulsed they have refused to eat for days on end. Gilkey told reporters of a time when a 20 year old veteran discovered live roaches on his tray:
“I apologized and said I would provide him with a special tray but he refused to eat, He went hungry for a couple of days until I convinced him to eat. He even refused to come out of his room and socialize with anyone. I told him I would take care of him.”
Dietary employees at the hospital have claimed that the infestation has become so severe that cockroaches will crawl across preparation tables while workers are preparing the meals. Several kitchen employees have refused to come in to work in protest of the unsanitary conditions for the veterans. As a result the facility has become severely understaffed, losing over 25 workers in the course of a few weeks.
Germaine Clarno, a social worker at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Hines, has been attempting to rectify the situation for three years but has seen little to no improvement.
A spokesperson for the hospital claims that exterminators have been called to the hospital six times a month for the past six months. Employees claim that the constant chemical spraying is ineffective and that there are likely millions of the bugs hidden somewhere in the infrastructure of the building.
Listen to testimony from a VA employee below.
Employees claim that the infestation has gotten worse in recent months.