A 73-year-old woman suffering from COVID-19, with symptoms of dementia, sneaked out of the provisional hospital in Pyrzowice on Wednesday around 5pm. Police officers were looking for her. They found them after more than an hour, a kilometer from the clinic. She returned with rescuers, assisted by the police, on foot. For the last 400 meters, the doctor was driving her in a wheelchair because she was tired and cold.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, the staff of the temporary hospital in Pyrzowice in the Silesian Voivodeship, intended for patients with COVID-19, noticed the absence of a 73-year-old patient. – She was not in bed, the hospital was searched and the police were notified – says Jolanta Wołkowicz, a representative of the Upper Silesian Medical Center, which is responsible for the facility in Pyrzowice.
– The patient used the moment when, in the dirty area of the hospital, the patient was handed over by the ambulance team to the hospital team. She slipped out through the open door of the dirty zone – adds Wołkowicz.
(The dirty area is a part of the hospital where infected patients are kept, as opposed to the clean area, where the staff, after taking off their suits, go to rest or eat).
– Patients in our hospital are not deprived of their liberty, they can move freely around the internist’s zone, they go to the toilet themselves. Unless they are under oxygen, then they move with paramedics – explains Wołkowicz.
They found her at the end of the road where there were no more buildings
A marked police car arrived at the hospital. Police officers reviewed the hospital’s external monitoring. Cameras captured the 73-year-old’s exit from the hospital. Thanks to this, it was known that it happened around 5 p.m.
– In the meantime, the police officer on duty in Tarnowskie Góry received a report from a witness that he saw a person walking on the road who is lightly dressed. It was already dark, around 6:20 pm – 6:30 pm. The person was walking in the direction of Ożarowice – says Aleksandra Nowara, spokeswoman for the Silesian police.
As Ożarowice is near Pyrzowice, the officers assumed that both reports – from the witness and from the hospital – could concern the same person – a 73-year-old patient.
An unmarked patrol from Tarnowskie Góry, including a policeman who knows these areas, was sent to Ożarowice. – There are a lot of forests and uninhabited places – says Nowara. – At the end of the road, where there were no more buildings, they found a woman who matched the description. They approached her, properly secured, wearing gloves and masks, to a safe distance. But she did not want to listen to them, did not respond to their requests. He has symptoms of dementia, reports a police spokeswoman.
There was no ambulance for her, and she could not get into the police car
The 73-year-old was about a kilometer from the hospital. Medics came for her from the clinic, but not in the ambulance, but in the second, marked police car. – In the hospital they said that it would take 24 hours for an ambulance to take the patient back. That is why the policemen decided that they would take rescuers to help the woman – reports Nowara.
Here was another problem. The patient could not get into the police car. – Sanitary regulations do not allow it. The woman was infected, and she had not been wanted by the police or detained. The role of medical services is to send an appropriate vehicle to such patients, we do not have the conditions or possibilities for this – explains the spokeswoman for the police.
In the end, the rescuers were driving the 73-year-old, and police cars assisted them from the front and back. Nowara adds that fortunately they did not use a particularly traveled road.
The doctor went out to get the patient with the pram
After a few hundred meters, the woman could no longer walk. So one of the police patrols went to the hospital to get a wheelchair for her. On the spot, however, it turned out that there was no clean trolley that could be put into a police car, and disinfection of the dirty one would take a long time.
Then one of the young doctors declared that he would go with the wheelchair to fetch the patient. The last 400 meters were driven by a woman in a wheelchair.
Jolanta Wołkowicz: – Based on their experience, the hospital staff knew that it was not possible to send a covid ambulance within 15 minutes, and here every minute counted, because the woman was already cold. It was known that transport by trolley would take much faster.
The intervention ended around 7 p.m.
Main photo source: TVN24