Miami VA Health Care system has air conditioning issues as South Florida temperatures rise, workers say

MIAMI — An anonymous employee at the Miami VA Health Care System along with several family members of veterans being treated there say they are seriously concerned about the conditions in this nursing unit.

Sources tell CBS News Miami there have been operational issues with the air conditioning system for about a week and that the inside of the nursing unit is unbearably hot.

“The veterans are, a lot of them are dehydrated,” said an employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

One CBS News Miami viewer sent us a video of what looks to be devices used to circulate air in the building.

“The third floor has been evacuated,” the employee said. “We still have veterans on one and two.”

A family member of one of the veterans said that his father was transferred to ICU following the air conditioning issues.

The VA employee says the scorching South Florida summer heat is taking a toll on some of the patients.

Miami VA Health Care
Miami VA Health Care

CBS News Miami

“Some have been in the emergency room, some have been transported to ICR,” said the employee.

CBS News Miami reached out to offices with Miami VA about the allegations.

While they said they were experiencing an issue with the air conditioning, they said they acted quickly, putting “spot chillers” inside the building as they continued to work on repairs.

Miami VA spokesman Ken Griffin, provided us with this statement that said in part: “A limited number of patients were preemptively moved to other areas of the hospital (not the Emergency Department), ensuring maximum safety for our patients. We are continuously monitoring patients safety and comfort as we work through this issue. The claim that residents need the emergency room is false, although the emergency room is available for anyone who feels they may need their services.”

But some employees and family members said they’re fed up, adding that the military veterans here deserve better care.

“If I had to put a percentage on the veterans being taken care of right now, I would give it 50 percent,” said the employee.

The Miami VA says they moved 35 patients and 26 employees to the VA facility in West Palm Beach out of an abundance of caution as they continue repairs.

Those veterans are expected to return to Miami within the next three days.

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