Despite carrying ID and phone numbers, a missing 83-year-old Alzheimer's patient from Floral Park spent more than 48 hours in a Queens hospital while his family canvassed police stations and hospitals, relatives said.
New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens acknowledged the incident involving Pascal D'Amico in a statement, but declined to specify the circumstances.
"We are investigating the questions surrounding this patient's case," hospital spokesman Scott Sieber said. "This investigation is necessary to determine what protocols apply."
Daughter Nancy Spano of Floral Park said she happened upon her father after going to the hospital emergency room late Saturday and asking a nurse.
"There was so much information in his wallet," said Spano, 49. "No one bothered to call us."
Relatives of D'Amico said they filed a missing persons report with the Floral Park police Thursday when he did not return to his Mayfair Avenue home from an early afternoon walk.
Nassau police said detectives contacted local law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD, and distributed fliers to area hospitals and mass transit agencies.
D'Amico's wife and three of their children conducted their own search for two days, recruiting friends and neighbors to post fliers, call hospitals and visit subways and bus stations in hopes of finding him. Daughter Lillian Zizzo, 51, flew in from Arizona on Saturday, desperate to help, she said.
"It was a nightmare," she said. "The things your imagination thinks of the third night that he's missing - Is he out on the streets? Is he going hungry? You don't even want to think of all the scenarios."
Spano said hospital officials explained that an ambulance had brought her father Thursday evening from a bus stop on Horace Harding Expressway and 183rd Street after a bus driver called 911 to report an injured male.
D'Amico had fallen and cut his right eye, his family said.
Marianne D'Amico, 77, D'Amico's wife, said the family had not decided whether to lodge a complaint with authorities about the incident.
"We'd like to do something, not for monetary purposes, but just so this doesn't happen again," she said.