Patient Found Dead in Stairwell Two Days After Disappearance
CINCINNATI (AP) _ A hospital patient who was said to be afraid of undergoing bowel surgery disappeared from his room and was found dead two days later in a stairwell.
Police said they suspect 41-year-old Richard Dwight Jackson had been hiding all along in the hospital and went undiscovered despite several searches of the seven-floor building.
His body, still clad in a hospital gown, was found Monday two floors above his room by another patient at Bethesda Oak Hospital.
An autopsy Wednesday indicated Jackson, who was admitted Dec. 5 for dehydration and alcoholism, died of cardiac failure at least a day before he was found.
Hospital security had called police on Saturday to report Jackson missing from his second-floor room. He was last seen by a nurse Friday night.
The security guard who reported the disappearance said Jackson was afraid of undergoing surgery scheduled for Saturday to treat a bowel obstruction, according to police.
Hospital spokeswoman Lisa Zimmer said she did not know why Jackson left his room. She would not identify Jackson’s relatives or say where they could be contacted. She also would not discuss details of the hospital’s investigation.
Sgt. John Sess said there was no indication of foul play and no evidence Jackson ever left the hospital.
″The only articles of clothing he was wearing was one of those gowns that open up at the back,″ Sess said. ″It was cold last weekend and I don’t think he went out dressed like that.″