Friday, June 24, 2011

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans - Crime in progress, part 4

The Smoking Tent.

I don't care what folks in general think of people who smoke. Whether or not smoking is good for you is not the point here. The issue here is Fairness and health care providers neglect because they disagree with another persons choice of living.

In 2010 Michigan passed a non smoking ban for all public areas, but made exceptions for places like nursing homes and some bars, and other places. They forgot to make an exception for the Veterans home.

The winter of 2010-2011 was filled with Veterans from all age groups, having to go outside to have their tobacco. The old guys in power chairs, the guys who were in wheel chairs, the guys who could hardly walk, all had to go out side and Freeze. Some of these people have smoked all their lives and could not quit if they wanted to.

So volunteers were called to put up a smoking shelter. One was proposed, including heat, for the Pavilion outside Kozy Corners. In December, Someone came and put up the walls. The walls were made up of awning type canvas, with one side of the tent containing clear plastic windows. 2 doors, of hanging thick plastic ribbons were put in, one at each end. And the whole thing was designed to be rolled up in the summer.
Inside the tent, the average temperature was about 5 degrees warmer than the outside air.

In April, the heaters were installed. They remained off thru out the remaining winter, due to the fact no gas was hooked up to them. The volunteers who donated them and put them in, said they had been sitting on their dock for 2 months and that they were waiting for a call to come and put them in. To this day, they still are not certified to be used, but they are hooked up to the natural gas line.

The only reason the shelter got put up in the first place, is because a State of Michigan congressperson came and asked where it was. Finding out that it wasn't even built yet, he got very angry because his office was told that it had been constructed and was up and that we were using it.

58 Veterans died of pneumonia related illnesses between January and March of 2011. Of those, 56 were known smokers. They got sick having to go outside with no heat.

I remind the reader, the gas heaters are STILL NOT CERTIFIED by the Gas company as being safe to use - and its mid summer now. When are they going to be certified, maybe next spring?

I blame the delays and lack of progress directly on the Administration of Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, currently under the temporary direction of one Sara Dunn.

GRH4V as its called, doesn't even have an acting commandant. And now the new Michigan Republican governor wants to privatize its operations.

I personally think some of the staff need to be held accountable for the premature deaths of those veterans, due to their having no warm place to go to have their tobacco.

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