• No heat in Baker County mental health hospital

    By: Kaitlyn Chana , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    MACCENNY, Fla. - There is no heat in a Baker County mental health hospital, and patients are freezing as they try to stay warm.

    A staff member at the Northeast Florida State Hospital in MacClenny confirmed there's no heat in a portion of a ward. 

    Patients at the mental health facility are speaking out to Action News Jax, saying they want to advocate for other patients who may not have the mental capacity to understand what’s going on.

    Four patients inside a ward told us the room temperature there is 40 degrees. They claim they’ve been without heat for a week. This facility promises on its website to ensure patients never lose hope for a quality life. Some patients said their hope is vanishing, along with their comfort. 

    “It’s freezing inside my room,” a patient said. 

    Another patient said, “Even bundled up in a couple (of) different blankets, it’s still kinda like ice-water-in-your-veins cold.”

    We reached out to Department of Children and Families and a spokesperson told us, via email, that the facility had heat with temperatures ranging from 68 to 72 degrees, but when we checked with staff inside the facility on three different occasions on Monday night, they said there was no heat in a portion of the ward.

    “I have on two sweatshirts and a coat. I have on a pair of pants and a pair of sweatpants over them,” a third patient said. 

    Patients said they’ve gone through the proper channels to report the heating issues, but staff told them that, because it’s the holidays, maintenance crews can’t fix the problem.

    “It’s absolutely stunning, the amount of negligence that has been going on,” a patient said. 

    These men said they’re requesting extra blankets and putting on extra socks just to keep warm. 

     “I actually had to go and request blankets on my own. And there are people who are so mentally unfit that they don’t even know what’s wrong,” a patient said.

    The four patients Action News Jax spoke with said they want to be advocates for those who can’t speak up or ask for help. Patients told us the staff members are also bundled in multiple layers, just to stay warm. 
     

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