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Senior with Alzheimer's missing for hours after leaving Montreal hospital without family's knowledge

A family is furious after an 82-year-old woman with Alzheimer's went missing from a Montreal hospital for several hours on Friday.

Ekaterini Vlachou was eventually found in a park about three kilometres from Fleury Hospital, where she had been admitted the night before for a heart problem.

Her daughter-in-law says the family had no idea the senior had been released.

"It's just mind-boggling, I'm flabbergasted, knowing that things like that happen in Montreal," said Christine Giannakopoulos.

She says an ambulance took Vlachou from her home in Laval to the hospital, located in Montreal's Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough, because there was no room at the hospital in her area.

When the family called the hospital for an update on Friday morning, they were told Vlachou had already left.

"We were told she was put on a bus, and we said, 'No you didn't. A bus to where?' They didn't even know what to answer."

Hospital staff later offered a different explanation, saying the woman had left with a family member. Giannakopoulos says that did not happen.

After calling police and reviewing the hospital's security camera footage showing Vlachou leaving the premises alone, the family went on a frantic search.

"It was very stressful for us. It was five hours of us thinking, 'Oh, is she lying in a ditch? Did somebody abduct her? Is she injured?'" she said.

Vlachou, who didn't have a cellphone, was in fact at Frederic-Back Park—about a 30-minute walk from the hospital.

Montreal police confirmed the 82-year-old was found after a concerned citizen at the park placed a 911 call.

Giannakopoulos says her mother-in-law doesn't understand what happened and said she was "out for a walk."

"It's probably a blessing in disguise that she doesn't remember what happened to her," she said.

While relieved, Giannakopoulos says she's disappointed about how the hospital handled the situation.

"It's very frustrating because this situation could have been a lot worse," she said, adding she intends to contact a lawyer.

In a statement to CTV News, the regional health authority did not comment on the specifics of the incident as it "must protect confidential user information at all times."

"What's more, the safety and well-being of our patients are at the heart of our mission. Before granting hospital discharge, our nursing staff ensures that all conditions are met for a safe return to the user's home environment," the statement from the CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montreal continues.

"It is always possible for our users and their families to contact the local complaints office if they wish to report a problem." Top Stories

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