Patient's family outraged after Atlanta hospital waited hours to tell them he was missing

A patient diagnosed as mentally incompetent went missing from Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center for over a day before he was found, leaving his family to wonder why the hospital waited several hours to notify them he was missing, Channel 2 Action News reports.

Paul Smith, 50, walked out of the hospital unnoticed around 3 p.m. August 6. A person found Mr. Smith 5 miles away from the hospital at a home Aug.  7. The man who lives at the home said Mr. Smith was bruised, still wearing a heart monitor and an IV and seemed confused.

Two hours after he went missing, Mr. Smith's family said they received a voicemail from a hospital staffer saying they were unable to find Mr. Smith. The family went to the hospital, but nurses did not give them a straight answer when they asked how Mr. Smith disappeared unnoticed. 

"The safety of our patients, visitors and employees is our top priority," the hospital said in a statement obtained by Channel 2 Action News. "When one of our patients left the hospital yesterday, we contacted his family. We are working with local authorities."

Mr. Smith is receiving treatment at a different hospital.

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