7 mental health patients supposedly dumped by China hospital

CHINA - Seven female mental health patients, suspected to have been abandoned by their mental hospital at a bus station for more than 25 hours, returned to the hospital in South China on Wednesday afternoon, Guangdong-based Nanfang Metropolis Daily reported.

The hospital head said two medical workers transporting the alleged recovered patients home accidentally "lost" them in the station, and in a flurry, forgot to report the missing patients to police. One patient denied that account.

According to the report, surveillance video shows that at 2pm Monday, seven people came into the waiting room of the Nancheng Bus Station in Dongguan city of Guangzhou province. No one was seen escorting them.

The patients, all in night-gowns and slippers, acted naturally at first and constantly looked at the ticket office. Later some of them began searching for food in the trash can or grabbing food from passengers walking by. They stopped delirious behaviours when someone in uniform appeared, didn't hurt others and slept on the floor, causing no harm but indeed attracting attention, the report said.

A patient in relatively good condition, named A Ying, said the group came from a hospital in Zhuhai, a city in Guangdong province. She said doctors told them they were recovered and could go back home. Medical workers took them to Dongguan city by bus before they left the patients in the waiting room and went to buy tickets. The workers said they were to meet them in the waiting room, but didn't show up again.

With this information, Dongguan police continued their investigation and found that the patients were from Zhuhai-based Baiyun Rehabilitation Hospital.

The hospital said its doctors confirmed they were in sound condition and checked the patients' home addresses before sending medical workers to send them home.

The report said the hospital didn't record any discharge procedure for the seven patients.

The two nurses who sent them to Nancheng Bus Station, Wang Ni and Fan Hong, said they didn't find the patients in the passenger exit, where they had left them when they returned within 30 minutes with tickets and food. The waiting room where the patients were staying is less than 100 meters from the passenger exit, the report said.