Hospital Cockroaches Compromise Prominent Medical Facility

Despite ongoing medical sanitation protocols, hospital cockroaches became a nasty reality for one prominent and respected Santa Monica, California, hospital. An infestation was found in the cafeteria kitchen of St. John’s Health Center.

Officials say that this specific eatery is not the one where patient meals are prepared, so patients should have no worry of contamination. However, hospital physicians, staff, and visitors frequently ate in that location, so no one can accurately surmise whether their food had contact with the cockroaches.

According to CBS Local, the hospital was built in 1942 and has treated many celebrities, including Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, and Michael Jackson. They also confirm that county health inspectors found at least 10 live cockroaches in this particular cafeteria’s kitchen.

A St. John’s spokeswoman apologized for the sanitation breach.

“Providence St. John’s apologizes for the inconvenience to our visitors, physicians, and staff, and while it’s difficult to control these natural occurrences, St. John’s pledges continued diligence in ensuring cleanliness and safety.”

Health inspectors shut down the cafeteria’s operations for a few days, ABC7 reported, so that they could manage the cockroach problem with the cooperation of hospital officials.

The unnamed hospital spokeswoman explained the occurrence by saying that the cockroaches made their way inside of the facility due to an extended spell of hot weather conditions. She said that they were in search of food and water.

The cafeteria in question is located on the second floor of the hospital.

As the cockroach problem is being managed, steps have been taken by the hospital to have food brought in from outside vendors for physicians and staff. Visitors are being referred to local restaurants. Patient food continues to be prepared in the cafeteria kitchen not affected by the infestation.

Hospital officials said that they expected the problem to be resolved, and the cafeteria to be re-opened, on this weekend.

Visitors and patients were understandably repulsed by their knowledge of the situation. Catherine Wright and Shalini Varma made their feelings very clear to ABC7.

“That’s a bad thing. It should have been seen.”

“I’m shocked. I’m really shocked and it’s absolutely unacceptable.”

According to the Inquisitr, no cockroaches were found anywhere else in the hospital. The infestation was limited to the one cafeteria kitchen.

Multibriefs.com, a publication of the Association for the Healthcare Environment, writes that cockroaches can transmit pathogens to the hospital environment on the outside of their bodies and can endanger the health of both patients and staff. Just a few of the health concerns associated with their presence include diarrhea, asthma, and pneumonia.

If allowed to breach hospital perimeters, they can easily find ample food and water supplies to happily set up housekeeping for the long term. Even without food, cockroaches can survive for up to two months, as long as they have adequate water.

Hospital cockroach infestations can be both prevented and controlled by a thorough and systematic program of sanitation and maintenance. This would include simple measures, such as sweeping, mopping, and cleaning regularly. It is also recommended that possible entry sites be identified and sealed and that water sources be regulated.

The most effective protocol is to consult with local pest management professionals, who can offer a variety of solutions to effectively manage the cockroach problem without further contributing to the potential of compromising patient health.

Professionals indicate that hospital cockroaches are not a common occurrence, but they do occur, as seen in St. John’s case, and facilities must be proactive in their sanitation policies and procedures if they are to ensure that the safety of their facility and their reputation are to remain intact.

[Photo by Steve Lodefink / Flickr | Cropped and Resized | CC BY 2.0]

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