Pictures from inside Providence VA hospital show dust, grime and rodent droppings

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PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — Pictures forwarded to Target 12 show dusty floors, sagging ceiling tiles and mouse droppings in the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center that serves about 35,000 veterans a year.

The source of the pictures claims the conditions have existed at the VAMC for several years, but the facility’s spokesperson said the images do not accurately depict current cleanliness.

A number of the shots show what appeared to be blood and human tissue in a stairwell, and mouse droppings in other areas.

One picture from what was said to be an exam room shows a sheet of plastic secured to the ceiling over missing tiles . An exam chair is below the drooping plastic.

Another picture captures what we’re told was grime, caked on the floor. There was also a wide shot of an exam room that seemed to have a dirty floor.

VAMC Public Information Officer Winfield Danielson said some of the pictures are “years old,” and he added the VAMC is clean.

“I would put this hospital’s cleanliness up against any hospital in the state,” Danielson said.

Danielson said he could not comment about several of the images because they are part of a federal lawsuit.

VAMC Podiatry Clinic Dr. William S. Naughton and technician Maria Horridge filed the lawsuit in 2013 claiming a construction project completed in 2014 sent unhealthy fumes and dust into the clinic, that allegedly caused permanent health problems. The case remains active with new filings posted earlier this month.

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Patients and VA employees who’ve contacted Target 12 blamed construction that is currently underway outside of the hospital for dust and dirt inside the facilty.

A number of pictures featured piles of dust on the floor, and more dust is seen on hospital computers.

A September 2014 screen shot of a question and answer session between hospital staff and the administration blamed the problem on staffing.

“We have recently suffered a larger than normal turnover of housekeeping staff,” an answer to a cleanliness question stated.

The source of the answers went on to write the medical center had recently “filled over 15 vacant” positions and that the hospital will return to its “expected level of appearance.”

The lawsuit and the source of the pictures both claim the hospital is infested with mice. Target 12 is in the process of obtaining pest control records from the VA through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau