LOMA LINDA (CBSLA) — The water fountains at the Pettis VA Medical Center in Loma Linda are out of service because evidence of Legionella, the bacteria that can cause Legionnaire’s disease, was found during the most recent quarterly water safety tests.
Nancy Darling, whose husband gets treated at the VA, isn’t worried.
“I think it’s a minor problem. I really do. They’re on top of it,” said Darling.
Staff at the VA insist there is no Legionella outbreak. That they shut off water to all the areas that tested positive and are mitigating the issue. They say only one patient room was impacted and no patients were exposed.
But according to The San Bernardino Sun, a group of physicians and nurses filed a federal whistleblower complaint just a few months ago, saying not enough was being done to protect employees and patients from exposure to Legionella.
“It’s sad. It’s scary. Wish we could do more,” said Vanessa Ceja, ex-wife of a patient.
No employees a the facility would talk on camera, but several admitted off-camera that they weren’t told about the latest water tests. They didn’t know if any long term efforts were under way to prevent future issues with the water, but say the facility is probably due for some upgrades.
“Most likely because the hospital is old. It’s like Redlands Hospital. It’s old. It needs to be upgraded,” said Darling.
Everyone CBSLA’s Tina Patel talked to said our veterans deserve better.
“It’s just kind of absurd how we don’t put enough of our tax dollars to the facility,” said Ceja.
The VA wouldn’t directly address concerns brought up in the federal complaint. But they did say they’re constantly educating staff members about the risks of Legionella and how to prevent outbreaks.