LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Wounded Cape Coral solider Pfc. Corey Kent is now being cared for at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, after his family requested he be moved from a Tampa V.A. Hospital due to "deplorable" conditions.
Now, more local veterans are coming forward with their stories on the conditions and care at the James A. Haley V.A. Hospital in Tampa.
WINK News has received a number of phone calls and emails from local vets describing their treatment at the hospital. Their experiences range from exceptional to downright dirty.
"Filthy. It was very dirty," Punta Gorda Navy veteran Brian Felt said Friday.
Felt worked as a lab technician at James A. Haley V.A. Hospital in Tampa for years. He says often times cleanliness at the V.A. was overlooked, in order to deal with the sheer volume of patients.
"If you had a blood spill or something, you'd have a person come straight to the chair. And if you didn't have a chance to clean it up, then you didn't have a chance to clean it up," Felt said.
Cape Coral Army vet Mike Crilly shares his story. He says he had a tumor removed from his pituitary gland at the hospital last year. A nurse was supposed to wake him up, so he could catch a shuttle back to the Fort Myers V.A. Clinic. But he says that never happened. He says when he overslept, he was given $29, shown the door and told to catch a Greyhound bus back home.
"I was like, how do I get there, I'm not from Tampa. I don't know where I'm going. They said, oh, catch the city bus," Crilly said Friday.
But one local Vietnam vet shares a much more positive experience. Will Leeson wrote to WINK News, saying , "The conditions where I was bedded was in a good state of cleanliness and repair. And, equally important, I was treated like royalty by the staff."
WINK News talked to a spokesperson from James A. Haley V.A. Hospital in Tampa about the accusations. The spokeswoman said daily rounds are made in the hospital to ensure cleanliness, but she did note the Tampa V.A. is an extremely busy facility, responsible for taking care of 5,000 patients each day.