Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rat droppings found in James A. Haley VA Medical Center

TAMPA — Rat droppings were found in a storage room of the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in an area between two wings of the hospital with patient rooms, the hospital confirmed Wednesday.

Karen Collins, a Haley spokeswoman, said the droppings, discovered at 6 p.m. Tuesday, were from "old rodent activity" on the fourth floor of the Tampa facility in a room containing "nursing station supplies such as carts and equipment." Maintenance workers found the droppings after removing ceiling tiles in the room.

Haley, she said, does not have an ongoing pest problem.

"We have 37 traps in and around the building that we're using," Collins said. "At this time, the rats are only being caught outside the building. None have been found inside for quite some time . . . The room was terminally cleaned and the floors were stripped and waxed."

Patient care at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, she said, has not been impacted. "As a precautionary measure, any potentially contaminated items were immediately disposed of or sanitized," Collins said.

Collins did not know when a rat was last seen inside the hospital, but she said the facility's pest-control plan has alleviated any problem.

"The plan is working," she said, noting pest control workers concluded the rat droppings were "dried and old."

Collins said infection-control officials at Haley also have been notified.

"Infection control has found nothing to be concerned with at this time regarding the room or supplies," Collins said. "James A. Haley veterans' hospital takes the health of our patients seriously and works very hard to maintain cleanliness standards."

A Cape Coral soldier's family complained about the lack of cleanliness at Haley in 2010, prompting an investigation by the VA's Medical Inspector's Office. The office made several recommendations, including additional staff training and filling vacancies in Haley's environmental management office.

In 2006, Haley officials canceled several surgeries after flies were seen in the hospital operating-room suite. Haley officials said at the time that spoiled food from an employee's locker attracted the flies. Haley sent out a staff memo reminding workers that they should properly store and discard food.

Rats and roaches were a problem at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. exposed by the Washington Post in 2007. Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., told reporters at the time, "Rats and cockroaches don't burrow and infest overnight."

William R. Levesque can be reached at or (813) 226-3432.

Rat droppings found in James A. Haley VA Medical Center 03/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000


    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  2. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big


    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  3. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump


    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  4. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  5. Candidates for governor get emotional talking about their gay siblings


    Occasionally in today's hyper-rehearsed and contrived world of political campaigns one witnesses moments that are so honest and real, we can't help but understand we're not just listening to another politician give his or her stump speech; We're listening to a human being who understands personal pain at least as well …

    Chris King talking to reporters in Tallahassee