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Alberta Hospital patient should have been found, inquiry told

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Lorraine Adolph found frozen to death on Hospital Grounds

Two senior officials at Alberta Hospital told a fatality inquiry that a patient who froze to death after she disappeared from the Edmonton psychiatric facility should have been found sooner.

Lorraine Adolph, 68, disappeared from Alberta Hospital on Dec. 4, 2008 after she went outside for a cigarette. Her frozen body was found in the snow one week later, just 400 metres from where she was last seen.

Mark Snaterse, then the site administrator, and Robert Anderson, who was head of security, both testified Thursday that if Adolph was on the site, searchers should have found her. “If she was there at the time the search was taking place, my expectation was yes, she would have been found,” Snaterse testified.

Lorraine Adolph disappeared from Alberta Hospital, Buildiing # 12, on December 4, 2008. She was found dead, frozen, one week later. Neither Snaterse nor Anderson were aware that security guards sent to find Adolph didn’t have winter boots and were unwilling to walk through two inches of snow to search around buildings.

The first search took 17 minutes. (Alberta Hospital Edmonton has 45 buildings spread over 275 acre)

The admissions were disturbing for Adolph’s son, Barry.
“They didn’t check the building where my mom was found, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Barry Adolph said. “If I’m looking for somebody, it doesn’t matter what footwear I have.”

The inquiry also heard testimony Thursday from Dr. Robert Granger who granted Adolph privileges to go outside unsupervised for a cigarette break. Adolph’s sister, Esther Gehlert, said she should never have been left alone.
“I knew that I could never leave her out of my sight”, said Gehlert. “The doors were locked. She had to stay with me constantly.”

Adolph, who had schizophrenia, had wandered away from a hospital in Stony Plain 7 was sent to Alberta Hospital because there was on-site security to keep her at the facility.
Gehlert said her sister hated it there.

“When she was in Alberta Hospital before, she phoned me and begged me to get her out of there,” she said. “It’s horrible.”

Adapted CBC News 23/06/11