Patients irate after intruder roams halls of VA hospital

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ATLANTA —

A federal police department is under fire over how it handled the discovery of an intruder at a local hospital.
 
A patient at the Atlanta VA tipped Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant off to the incident a couple of weeks ago. It took a while to confirm, but what was in a police report has patients' families troubled and a local security expert extremely critical of the situation.
 
Natalie Carnegie said she worried neither her family nor police will ever know the identity of an intruder seen sitting in her father's and other rooms while roaming around one of the Atlanta VA medical center's intensive care units earlier this month.
 
"MICU patients, they're critically ill. Most of them can't walk, talk or fend for themselves,” Carnegie.
 
A VA police report showed that after the Carnegies and others complained, the department's investigation showed the man had "been inside the facility for several days impersonating as a relative of patient Carnegie."
 
When police found the man, he had no ID. The report showed police ran the name and birthday he gave through the state's crime database, “but information was invalid." Still, the intruder was "given a trespassing warning and escorted off the property."
 
"Yeah, this is bad police work. There's so many errors here,” said local security expert Brent Brown.
 
Brown said maybe the most critical error was not getting a proper ID before letting the intruder go.
 
“In today's environment you cannot run the risk of what they're up to,” Brown said.
 
Brown said he’s baffled the VA police didn't at least make an arrest and have a jail run the man's fingerprints.
 
"This is just one more thing of a lack of total management. They've got to take action on stuff like this,” Brown said.
 
The VA sent a statement to Channel 2 saying it followed appropriate procedures and policies were reinforced with staff and affected patients and families were reassured.
 
Still Brown is convinced the VA police's lack of action could put other hospitals at risk.