An older woman has been found distressed and abandoned at a Sunshine Coast hospital after being left there by an unknown man.
Believed to be somewhere between 80 and 90 years old, the police and hospital officials are racing to identify her. Found left in a state of distress outside the Nambour hospital early Sunday morning, she is non-verbal and had no identifying information on her at the time.
Unable to identify herself, hospital staff currently have no way of knowing her medical history, and she has since been moved to the larger Sunshine Coast University Hospital where they have run a series of tests to best offer her care.
Senior Sergeant Gary Brayley said he had never seen a case like this in 32 years as an officer. Caught on CCTV, The woman was left at the hospital by an unnamed man, caucasian in appearance, around 60 years old, with a medium build. Wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt, black boots and a brown hat, police have said that it is critical that they speak to the man.
Currently, it is impossible to determine whether a crime has been committed, with Senior Sergeant Brayley saying, “that’s something we’re yet to determine.
“We’ve got a number of different things in mind. Until we speak to the lady or that male person, we don’t know what the situation is.”
According to the head of Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia chief Geoff Rowe, while hospital abandonments are rare, unfortunately it’s not uncommon for people to put older Australian’s in a respite centre and never pick them up. This can sometimes happen because the responsibility of caring for people living with dementia and other care needs can become overwhelming for loved ones.
“It’s really important that people in a caring role reach out and seek support,” he said.
“Clearly it sounds like the local case that you have there, if the older woman is unable to identify who she is, and is very confused — that’s classic signs of dementia.
“It’s a difficult road, but … we need to reach out and seek support sooner rather than later.”
Police are appealing to the public to come forward with any information they may have about the woman, or the man seen in the CCTV footage.