Dirty Desert Hospitals. How Safe Are You?
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
INDIO--Hospital cleanliness should be the last thing on your mind when you or a loved one is ill. KMIR 6's Adrianna Weingold recently uncovered concerns about unsanitary conditions at one local hospital.
Patient accusations are alarming. Claims of dirt, hair and even used bandages on the floor inside a patient room at JFK Hospital in Indio. They’re major concerns that could spell unsanitary conditions, and viewers have written in and called, worried the filth could also spread disease. It's the dirty truth at one local hospital and patients have the video and pictures to prove it.
Video taken inside a patient's room at JFK Hospital in Indio shows hair and dirt caked on the floor. There's even a used Band-Aid next to the toilet. They’re hardly the conditions and cleanliness you would expect at a hospital, but it’s exactly what the Gomez family endured during their 5-night stay at JFK Hospital in early January.
"It is dirty. Very dirty," said Joyce Gomez. Her husband was recently hospitalized at JFK Hospital. She says the conditions were so dirty she worried they could be unsanitary too.
Joyce's 74-year-old husband, Eddie, was rushed to JFK Hospital last month with a 104-degree fever. He was admitted with a bronchial infection, to a room that looks more like a breeding ground for bacteria than a safe place to recover.
"In my heart I believe that room had never been cleaned from the patient before us until they moved us in there because there were Band-Aids on the floor that didn't belong to us. The toilet was filthy. There were spider webs on the wall. There was a spider on the wall. There was lint underneath the furniture, underneath the bed. The tables were dusty and dirty," Joyce said.
Lori Gomez-Ortiz took pictures and video from inside her father's hospital room to document the dirty conditions.
"It was my dad that was sick, and I was just looking at the conditions in the room and wondering, how long had it been this way? It was obvious that this wasn't like a day that they didn't take the time to wipe things down. It took time for it to get that way, " Lori said.
Hospital officials say the rooms are supposed to be cleaned and sanitized after each patient, but these pictures suggest otherwise.
"If they're not sanitizing the rooms between patients then that would seem like you were layering sickness over sickness, germs over germs," Gomez-Ortiz said.
Eddie stayed in the hospital from January 2nd through the 7th. First in the Carreon Suite, but after the bathroom flooded he was moved to the Ryan Suite, where these pictures were taken.
"Nobody should be in those conditions when they're sick," Gomez-Ortiz said.
"I don't know who has been in this room. How lng this filth has been in here. Of course I wanted him to get well. We wanted to get out of there and I just felt that it was very unsanitary, very unsanitary," Joyce Gomez said.
JFK Hospital is highly regulated by the Health Department and a health care accreditation group called the Joint Commission. The hospital is subject to both planned and random visits. It also goes through an accreditation process every 3 years.
JFK was recently accredited by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission is one of the agencies that controls patient care, quality of care and also cleanliness. In a recent patient survey from the Joint Commission 17 percent of patients say their room was never clean or almost never clean. That's twice the national average.
Stephen Davidson is the Director of Environmental Services at the JFK Hospital. I showed him pictures from inside the Gomez's room and asked him to comment on the dirty conditions captured during the Gomez’s stay.
“There are Band-Aids next to the toilet, dirt and hair on the floor, gum in the track. Can you respond to these?”
"Whether that patient was admitted prior to us being able to clean it, or after we cleaned it. It's unacceptable," Stephen Davidson, Director of Environmental Services at JFK, said.
The Gomez family isn't the first to complain about filth. Officials at JFK tell me another patient recently complained about cleanliness in the emergency room. That complaint prompted a visit from the health department.
"I'm apologetic that they were admitted to that room. I personally feel horrible. If my wife or child was admitted to that room, I would be disappointed, but it's not our standard and we've used this to train staff and assure that these types of things don't continue to occur," Stephen Davidson, Director of Environmental Services at JFK, said.
In the Gomez's case, Davidson says the staff member assigned to clean the room didn't follow proper procedures, including thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the entire room.
"We were obviously aware of these unfortunate circumstances. Our EVS team responded appropriately other than a staff member not following our appropriate protocol and cleaning all contact surfaces in the patients room," Stephen Davidson, Director of Environmental Services at JFK, said.
Bridgette Davila is the Infection Preventionist at JFK Hospital. It's her job to prevent the spread of infection. She says the room may have been dirty but the patient’s safety was never in jeopardy.
"The room appearance was not to our standards. I want to say that the patient care was not compromised in this patients stay. We apologize for their experience here at JFK," Bridgette Davila, R.N., Infection Preventionist at JFK said.
Since our investigation began, the rooms have been thoroughly cleaned. The blinds have been replaced, and they even installed a new flat screen TV in the Ryan Suite.
For the Gomez family the damage is done. They say the only way they're going back to JFK is in an ambulance.
We should point out that the administration at JFK Hospital was very apologetic about the conditions of the Gomez's room. The hospital was cooperative and quickly responded to our inquiries. We were allowed in last week to see the current conditions for ourselves. The room we were shown and the halls we walked down, looked spotless.