Forgetful patient missing after he walks out of LICH

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Long Island College Hospital has very few patients to keep track of these days — fewer than a dozen according to a hospital spokesman — and now one has vanished from his hospital bed.

Celso Heredia, an 81-year-old patient, was admitted the day that the emergency room stopped accepting ambulances. He walked out of the hospital at about 4:16 pm Wednesday wearing a blue and white striped shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers at about the time angry doctors and nurses were marching across the Brooklyn Bridge protesting the hospital’s closure.

Heredia has brown eyes, gray hair, and a murky past: he was admitted to the hospital on June 20 after police discovered him walking down the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway with $300 in his pocket. He had recently shaved and was carrying Mexican identification and a note in his pocket that read, “Please help this person get on the correct bus to Atlantic City,” the New York Times reported.

When police first found Heredia, he was disoriented and thought that he was in California and that the year was 2005. Police brought him to Long Island College Hospital and a week passed without anyone coming to look for him.

“He was ready to walk out the door,” a police sergeant told the Times.

The State University of New York, which runs Long Island College Hospital and is trying to shut it down, is directing ambulances away from the hospital’s emergency room because of what administrators describe as an “exodus” of skilled doctors. But a spokesman for the university said that there is currently still enough doctors and nurses at the hospital to take care of the few remaining patients.

“There is certainly no shortage of staff at Long Island College Hospital,” said Robert Bellafiore, a state spokesman, who would only speak about a hypothetical version of Heredia’s case because of patient privacy laws.

Because there is only a small number of patients left, Bellafiore said, doctors and nurses are “tripping over each” other to treat those who remain.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bun-yi from Sunset Park says:
Bill de Blasio is on it
July 26, 2013, 7:07 am
Where's Celso? from Azkaban says:
please get the story straight. How did that man supposedly just walk out of a hospital that has been surrounded by huge numbers of hired security guards, armed state university police, uniformed & plainclothes security on both sides of every exit ever since the community & elected officials stormed the executive offices demanding answers for LICH a week before this patient went "missing". While staff & every visitor is being stopped & has been getting escorted whereever they have to go in the hospital, we are to believe that no one stopped this old man & he got thru locked doors, police, & guards? Every one of those security firms should be fired. Just so happens that PIX11news reported on SUNY Downstate officials buying him a bus ticket to Florida & discharging him late at night the week before. "Dumping" on another state is not allowed, so the day after the report aired, the attorney general started an investigation by its medicaid fraud division. THE VERY NEXT DAY this patient disappeared. Look at Mario Diaz' reports on PIX11 website. Check w/ Downstate's president's friend Richard Becker if his hospital got in any John Doe recently. Check greyhound. Send a silver alert to the Florida town that SUNY COO James Karkenny tried to dump him on before the man "disappeared" - and the 3 towns that the bus was stopping in on its 27 hr journey south.
July 27, 2013, 12:46 pm

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