Confidential report shows life-safety issues at Atlanta VA hospital

by: Aaron Diamant Updated:


DECATUR, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has uncovered more safety concerns at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

Our weeks-long investigation has already revealed federal reports that blame mismanagement by hospital leaders for patient deaths, and we've exposed problems accreditors found with health care quality.

Now, Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant has found several life-safety issues that could affect anyone who walks in the doors of the hospital.

By now, the veterans and staff at the American Legion post in Tucker have seen at least some of Channel 2 Action News' reports on problems that federal and other investigators have found at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

"I think it's horrible," said Tonya Litte from the American Legion.

Leaked documents confirm inspectors from a hospital accrediting agency found pages and pages of problems during a visit last March that they said put patients and staff at risk.

Violations include everything from unsterilized equipment to unsecured narcotics, plus problems monitoring and tracking patient care.

"They went over there, serving their country, and they should be entitled to more than that," Little said.

Digging deeper into the inspectors' survey, Diamant found the VA also fell short of several "life-safety" standards.

Specifically, "there was a support beam that had the fire proofing removed," and several fire doors "did not properly latch when tested."

The report found equipment blocking exits in the emergency room, plus on the roof, the "exhaust fan for the isolation rooms was not labeled appropriately to warn employees to take the appropriate precautions."

And in the dental clinic, "there appeared to be the risk of natural gas accumulation."

What veteran Allen Rolder wants now is "professionalism to make sure everything's run right."

And a plan to hold administrators accountable.

"Let some of them go and maybe that will learn the rest of them," veteran Carl Teal said.

Despite all of Diamant's stories and a looming congressional investigation into what the federal investigators found, leaders at the Atlanta VA still refuse to talk about any of this, denying every interview request Diamant has made.

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