Patient walks out of hospital |

Patient walks out of hospital

Only two days after abdominal surgery, a 68-year-old woman pulled out her IVs, and walked out of Barton Memorial Hospital during the predawn hours. She was dressed in only her hospital gown, a pink robe, and socks, police said Thursday.

Even though a hospital worker saw the woman in the back parking lot around 3 a.m., police weren’t called for 45 minutes, investigators said.

Lori Waller, Barton’s nursing office manager, said the patient was last seen on her floor at 3 a.m., and was discovered missing 15 minutes later after a nurse came in to check her IVs.

“An internal search was immediately conducted and when it was expanded to an external search we found the employee that had seen her in the back parking lot,” Waller said. “We have patients coming and going from the emergency room in bathrobes all the time, so the worker didn’t think anything of it.”

For the next three hours, during an April snowstorm, 18 search and rescue volunteers, three police dogs and five officers combed the surrounding area.

The woman was found cold, wet, and covered with pine needles and dirt around 6:45 a.m. in the McDonald’s parking lot at the “Y.” Police said the woman told them that she left the hospital because she felt she was being killed there. The woman said she hid in the bushes for several hours before coming out into the open. She had also fallen several times during her walk through the wooded residential area.

Police said the woman was returned to the hospital and referred to mental health.

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