Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hospital to probe patient's disappearance

Eilish O'Regan and Tom Brady

A HOSPITAL probe is under way into how an elderly and confused patient left a secure unit for nearly 24 hours, spending Sunday night around Dublin city centre.

Joan Campbell (78), right, was found safe and well yesterday morning after going missing from St James's Hospital in south inner city Dublin on Sunday afternoon.

Gardai, who issued a public alert yesterday morning, quickly received information that Ms Campbell was seen in Cathal Brugha Street.

A hospital spokesman said the investigation was still trying to establish where she spent the night, one of the mildest for some time.

Ms Campbell, who is believed to be from the Terenure area, has been an in-patient at the hospital's unit caring for people with dementia and related disorders since February.

She was noted by staff as "being well" at 4.30pm on Sunday evening but was found to be missing at 5.15pm.

Her disappearance sparked an immediate search of the extensive St James's Hospital campus as frantic security staff looked for some clues to her disappearance on CCTV.

A second search of the campus was carried out overnight and it resumed early yesterday when gardai issued a public alert.

The woman's family was alerted to her disappearance on Sunday afternoon and gardai at Kilmainham station were informed.

Ms Campbell, who appeared to be none the worse for her ordeal, returned to the hospital and was examined by medical staff.

The hospital apologised to her family for the upset that was caused by the regrettable incident.

Irish Independent

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