Veteran Claims Mold at VA Made Him Sick

LITTLE ROCK, VA — A Central Arkansas veteran says mold in his room at the Little Rock VA made him sick. 
Joe Davidson was drafted into the Army in 1973.  He served more than 10 years, including a stint in Vietnam, before coming home to Damascus, Arkansas. 

“I served my country proudly,” he says. 

Davidson says his health began deteriorating when he got back. He went blind in one eye, had a cyst on his lung and required shoulder surgery. 

In October of 2007, Davidson went to the Little Rock VA with G.I. problems. 

“I kept complaining about the mold above my bed,” Davidson said.  

For seven days, Davidson says he was kept in a room with mold growing on the ceiling. 

“I told the doctors,” he said.  “They just shrugged their shoulders.” 

Ever since then, Davidson says he’s been dealing with new respiratory issues. 

“I’ve been having nose blood drainage,” he explains.  “I’ve been given antibiotics over and over again.” 

After hearing Davidson’s story, Fox16 requested reports from the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.  Over a five year period starting in May of 2010, there were 61 work orders dealing with mold placed by employees at the Little Rock VA.
“Patient safety and the quality of care we deliver here are always foremost in our minds,” said Tina Mcclain, acting Chief of Staff of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. “If a veteran has experience respiratory issues relative to any environmental issue…  I would like to offer an apology,” Mcclain said.

But, she says, she’s unaware of any cases where mold caused such problems. 

“There is no proof that the discolored ceiling tile in you room was in fact moldy,” reads a VA response to Davidson’s claim that the mold made him sick. 

“To my knowledge, we don’t have a problem with mold in this facility,” Mcclain said. 

But Davidson says his picture and the reports tell a different story.  He says veterans deserve better. 

“It’s just not right,” he said. 

Davidson also told us roaches were a big problem at the Little Rock VA so we asked for work orders pertaining to that. 
During that same five year time frame, there were 36 orders regarding roaches, including one in 2011 that said there were “roaches all over nurses station.”  There were also multiple reports of roaches in patient rooms.  
The hospital says that during inspections conducted by a slew of government agencies including OSHA — it has never been cited for mold or roaches. 

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