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Dozens of veteran's hospital patients, many of whom are in town for major medical procedures, face an added stress after they were told to pack up and leave their Nashville hotel because of environmental concerns.
About 19 patients, plus their relatives and caregivers, received a call from Department of Veterans Affairs officials saying that they were to leave Guesthouse Inn and Suites, near the Nashville VA Hospital, and relocate to another downtown hotel.
Tara Reid, of Louisville, KY, said she got the call about 8 p.m. Friday.
Her father is receiving treatment at the VA Hospital after he recently had a heart pump surgically implanted.
Reid was staying at the hotel and said she is very worried because the VA representative who spoke to her would not elaborate further on those environmental concerns.
"We were told we had to leave that evening - that we already had hotel reservations and we needed to leave that one," Reid said. "We've been told it's air quality and heard through the grapevine that it's a fungal infection a couple of patients have come back with."
Other guests at the hotel were not asked to leave, just VA patients and their families because the patients had suppressed immune systems.
"We don't know where our life is going from here. We don't know if we've been exposed to something seriously dangerous or if it's nothing at this point - if it really was just a compromised immune system that's possibly going to be bothered by it," Reid said.
VA officials sent Channel 4 News a statement, which said on Thursday they identified possible environmental concerns to patients whose immune systems were diminished.
The went on say patient safety is their No. 1 priority and staff moved quickly to move veterans to another lodging facility.
The Metro Health Department is now conducting its own investigation after receiving a complaint Monday afternoon.
"We received one call, and it was a phone call. Sometimes those aren't specific, but there was a specific complaint about this hotel, and that we would follow up," said health department spokesman Brian Todd.
By law, hotels have to be inspected every six months. In October 2013, the Guesthouse Inn and Suites scored a 96.
"That's very good. That means there's no critical violations, so 96 is a very good score," Todd said.
It's not clear why there's so much secrecy surrounding the alleged contamination, but VA officials say they're in the process of contacting the people who were moved to a new hotel.
In a new health department inspection Tuesday, the hotel scored an 89. The hotel had one critical violation of a mislabeled bottle of cleaner.
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