Missing brain-injured patient found in construction area

LETHBRIDGE — The mother of a brain-injured patient reported missing from a southern Alberta hospital says he was found trapped under steel pipe in an area of the hospital under construction.

LETHBRIDGE — The mother of a brain-injured patient reported missing from a southern Alberta hospital says he was found trapped under steel pipe in an area of the hospital under construction.

Rose Stanko said construction workers found her son Wesley Stanko, 55, on Wednesday morning, three days after police and health officials in Lethbridge issued public pleas to help find him.

Officials at Chinook Regional Hospital refused to specify where in the facility Stanko was found.

“We’re thankful for the positive outcome,” said Penny Kwasny, hospital vice-president. “An unfortunate incident? Absolutely. ”

“We did find him in good health, in good condition when we did find him.”

He was taken to the emergency ward for treatment.

“He was dehydrated. I don’t know how much longer he would have lasted,” his mother said. “It was a miracle. We’re grateful they found him.”

Wesley, who has a brain injury and other physical problems, had wandered into the area through a maintenance door, his mom said.

He then fell between the pipes and became pinned by one pipe that fell on his chest and neck.

During an earlier search of the hospital, someone opened the maintenance door and looked around the storage area but apparently didn’t see her son, she said.

According to family members, Wesley has a very weak voice and would have been unable to call for help.

Doug Stanko said he was surprised and “ecstatic” to see his brother alive Wednesday after several days of worry.

He said he considers the ordeal a freak situation and he’s reluctant to blame hospital staff.

“We’re too easy in this society to point fingers,” he said. “I would think (even a) search and rescue (crew) would have had trouble finding him.”

A review of hospital policies and procedures is underway, said Kwasny.

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