Miami — An unidentified employee at the Miami VA Health Care System, along with several family members of veterans being treated there, said they are deeply concerned about the conditions in this nursing unit.
Sources tell CBS News Miami that for a week there have been operational problems with the air conditioning system and it has been too hot in the nursing room.
“Many of the veterans are running short of water,” said a worker who wished to remain anonymous.
A CBS News Miami viewer sent us video of what appears to be equipment used to circulate air inside the building.
“The third floor is vacated,” said the employee. We still have veterans at one and two.
A family member of one of the veterans had his father moved to the ICU following air conditioning issues.
The VA worker said the scorching South Florida summer heat is taking its toll on some patients.
“Some were in the emergency room, some were taken to ICR,” the employee said.
CBS News Miami spoke to officials with the Miami VA about the allegations.
While they said they were having problems with the air conditioning, they acted quickly by installing “spot chillers” in the building while they continued their maintenance work.
Miami VA spokesman Ken Griffin said in part: “Some patients have been pre-transported to other areas of the hospital (not the emergency department) to ensure the highest level of safety for our patients.” We are monitoring the patient continuously. Safety and comfort while we work on this issue. Although emergency rooms are available to anyone who feels they may need their services, the claim that residents need emergency rooms is false.
But some employees and family members say they are fed up, adding that the military veterans here should be treated better.
“If I had to put a percentage on the veterans who are being cared for now, I would give 50 percent,” said the employee.
The Miami VA said it has moved 35 patients and 26 staff from a high-caution facility to a VA facility in West Palm Beach as repairs continue.
Those veterans are expected to return to Miami within the next three days.