Cockroaches in Veteran’s Food at a Chicago VA!

By Faye Higbee

In a story reported by the Conservative Review, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in the Chicago suburb of Hines, Il has a cockroach problem. The infestation is so severe that a whistleblower came forward to reveal that veterans were being served food with cockroaches on their trays. And this isn’t the only instance in which VA hospital kitchens have been overrun with vermin.


Looks nice from the outside…

Veterans subjected to filth

“The workers try to brush the cockroaches off the counters, but the bugs get in the food..It’s been like this for years, ever since anyone can remember.” Germaine Clarno Social Worker. 


File photo

The Conservative Review reported,

Dietetic technician Kelvin Gilkey has been a VA employee for 33 years. He recounted how PTSD-traumatized veterans in the mental health unit were served cockroaches on food trays on three different occasions last year. One veteran, in his 20s, became enraged and started swearing in disbelief, demanding to be discharged. But he would languish there another 28 days, sickened every time he had to eat a meal.

“I apologized and said I would provide him with a special tray but he refused to eat,” Gilkey said. “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.”


File photo

The staff at the VA hospital is down 25 positions because they are afraid they might bring bugs home. Some kitchen employees have even refused to come to work. The whistleblower stated that the kitchen is full of grime, and cockroaches are everywhere in the daytime, crawling along counters and on the food trays.

Not the only VA Hospital with roaches

The James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida came under fire in 2015 after emails surfaced about not just a cockroach infestation, but rats in their kitchen. It, too, was a chronic situation, and was reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

After 3 large rats fell through the newly installed ceiling at the facility, an email from June 15, 2015 was sent to the facility “Enviro Team” stating that the area above the kitchen was infested with roaches and rats. It also said that if they didn’t take care of it “we could end up in the news.”

Yep. They ended up in the news.

Never fixing issues

As usual with the VA, they always say they have handled the problem, yet the problem continues. Wheter it is wait time, shredding documents, or cockroaches and other vermin, they really do not take care of the issue. In the case of cockroaches, hiring the least expensive and probably not the best pest control means the issue will continue.

An Orkin expert told the Conservative Review that the reason they were having to call the pest people all the time was because the roach nest were likely full and couldn’t handle all the bugs. Cockroaches come out at night, so if they are present in the daytime and having the run of the kitchen,  that means they were never properly exterminated in the beginning. He stated that the control should be only necessary once a month, not every week.

Our veterans deserve better than to be subjected to filth and vermin. The roaches carry “gastroenteritis” — everything from food poisoning, to diarrhea to dysentery. We all know what mice and rats carry – everything from Bubonic plague to deadly hemorrhagic fevers.

It is past time to help our veterans!