GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A broken part of the air conditioning unit at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans means that temperatures and humidity are higher in the facility. Representatives for the home said no one is in any medical danger, but the daughter of one patient said her father's experience shows that's not the case.
Bonnie Goretski spoke to 24 Hour News 8 over the phone Friday, as she lives out of the area. She said her father, an 88-year-old World War II veteran, started having trouble breathing on Sunday night after the unit started not working as well.
Suzanne Thelen, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Veterans Affairs, said that there was an accident that caused a brown out Sunday night, and that brown out shut down the home's air conditioner. She said when the power came back, so did part of the air conditioner, but not the whole thing.
The Home tried to fix the unit quickly after it stopped working, Thelen said. But an initial part shipped in from Tennessee did not work, so they had to order a second part from California, which won't arrive until Monday or Tuesday.
Thelen said the air conditioner is functioning at 80% right now, which means rooms in the home are several degrees warmer than normal and the humidity is higher. Thelen said while some residents may be slightly uncomfortable, she said no one is in any danger to their health.
"My dad, on Monday morning, he was having a difficult time breathing over the weekend," said Goretski. "Monday morning, he went to the charge nurse and insisted, 'I'm going to the hospital.'"
Goretski said the warmer, more humid air exacerbated her father's respiratory condition, making him have to go to the hospital. He was admitted Monday, she said, and now she's worried that her dad won't be safe if and when he returns to the Home.
"If the doctor releases my dad to go back there and he gets sick again, what's going to happen?" said Goretski. "If there's not proper air flow, the same thing's going to happen again, and the next time it might not be like this and that's what I'm concerned about."
Thelen said though personal fans are not allowed in individual patient rooms due to a potential fire hazard, she said there are industrial fans in the Home's hallways. She also said that if a patient is uncomfortable and needs a fan adjusted, all he or she has to do is ask.
The air conditioning is supposed to be fixed the day the part arrives. That should be Tuesday at the latest.
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