Veterans Administration wastes money by leaving equipment at abandoned hospital

BRECKSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland 19 investigation by reporter Paul Orlousky has found that thousands of usable items were left behind when the Brecksville Veterans Hospital
was closed in 2011. A group of urban explorers tried doors at the Brecksville VA Hospital and got inside. We found an internet link to their exploits. They did not act at our direction or with our knowledge, and their entrance was illegal. Still, what they recorded is extraordinary.

Wheel chairs weren't taken to the expanded Stokes VA Hospital. The abandoned basketball court houses desk chairs, lobby chairs, you name it, some
in pristine condition. On the video, one of the explorers is heard saying "How many hospitals can you say have a movie theater, a bowling alley, a church." It is no exaggeration.

There is a six lane bowling alley. By today's standards, possibly dated equipment, but wouldn't some commercial lane want the parts of the Brunswick pin setters. Elsewhere, bowling balls simply left, along with shoes in every size. What appears to be a multi denominational chapel sits abandoned. The stained glass pristine. The pews the same. In the theatre, there are the audience seats and much more. The projection equipment was left in place. An audio board left in place. And stage lighting that any school would love left hanging in place above a stage never to be used again. There is a perfectly good pool table, abandoned in a recreation room. Bingo signs and equipment also left there. Expensive cafeteria fixtures sit idle. Same with the barbershop, another restaurant, and even the morgue refrigeration and autopsy equipment.

As the video moves to another room, another explorer is heard saying "Look, new stuff still in the boxes!" He is correct, the video shows boxes of equipment never opened, yet paid for and left untouched. Other items apparently boxed for the move to Stokes, but never taken. An optical examination unit, not different from one at your eye doctor's was left unused. Troubling to safety officials is an alarm sounding, no one ever to respond. A clock still ticking, and oddly in several locations lights still on. It gets worse.

In the pharmacy, there are the red hazardous material containers, known as sharps containers because of syringes and other biomedical waste they
contain. All left not properly or safely disposed of. Elsewhere, syringes scattered over the floor. No way to tell from the video if they are used or unused.  In either case, an inexcusable oversight. Elsewhere in the pharmacy, drugs, everywhere. On shelves, on the floor, thousands of pills. Again, we have no way of telling what they are.

The head of the local VA has told staff that the agency had no use for the stuff left behind, and a good job was done in clearing the place. After it closed, the U.S. Inspector General reviewed the deal and criticized the closure saying the project was never the subject of a cost versus benefit analysis. And that over 20 years, the ill conceived move to Stokes will cost taxpayers a half billion dollars.

The VA confirms negotiations for a sale to the city of Brecksville are ongoing, but Mayor Jerry Hruby says what remains inside is slowing down the sale effort because it increases building rehabilitation costs.

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