Chicago VA Serving Raw Food to Veterans. Then There’s the Mice…

 In Veterans

The Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital in Chicago has been in the news for years for unsanitary conditions, mold, burial issues, manipulated wait times, and cockroaches in the food. Now, in an article written by Michael Volpe, the Daily Caller obtained photos from an employee that showed veterans are being served food that is uncooked, some food is past its expiration date, and extremely unsanitary conditions continue at the facility.

Warning: Some of these photos may be disturbing. All of them were obtained by the Daily Caller.

This photo was taken in early January

This photo was taken on February 22, 2017, the same day as the photo of the hole in the ceiling

This hole was left for approximately 6 months before finally being repaired in April

One Jewish veteran was unable to eat anything but fruit and coffee for several days because they ran out of Kosher food. One of the doctors sent an email to staff on February 13:

“I believe you will agree that his being hospitalized since yesterday and subsisting on some fruit and coffee as a result of a complete lack of kosher food is unacceptable in any facility, especially our VA hospital. The usual stock of kosher food that was found to be expired, discarded and not replaced in the Hines kitchen inventory needs to be looked into and safeguards put in place so that no Jewish veteran (or any veteran) must suffer the psychological and emotional abuse and denial of proper nutrition due to such negligence.”

Major runaround

The person in charge of the nutrition department is Valerie Adegunleye. The DC reported that she was selling handbags on company time, and had been unresponsive to employees who advised her directly of the issues in the kitchen. When she was asked for a response by the Daily Caller, she referred them to the Public Affairs representative, Rick Fox. He issued a statement  saying that “dramatic improvements” were on the slate for this summer, and they would not comment on any disciplinary action on an employee.

Germaine Clarno is the union representative and the one who “blew the whistle” on wait times in 2014.  It has been a constant battle for her to get anyone at the hospital to respond to the problems.  She wasn’t impressed with the statement from Public Affairs.

“This statement does not reflect the experiences of the staff or our veterans. No veteran should ever have to threat to go on a hunger strike due to the poor quality of food and lack of customer service. Leadership of the food service is aware of the ongoing problems and continue to avoid taking the necessary steps to resolve issues. Just about a year ago cockroaches were found on veteran’s food trays and the crisis in the kitchen continues with no one in kitchen leadership being held accountable. I am not sure which kitchen is getting a ‘total remodel’ but the last employees were told only a section of the flooring and ceiling will be replaced in the main kitchen.”

Read more of the Daily Caller article here.

There appears to have been no disciplinary action for Ms. Adegunleye thus far. Raw chicken can kill you. The food is still expired. The situation is still unsanitary. And how many mice are in that kitchen? When the Edward Hines VA was under scrutiny from cockroaches, they told authorities that they were taking care of the problem…obviously they didn’t.

Time for a housecleaning, and we’re not just talking about the building.


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