TB patient in New Mexico disappears from hospital

A tuberculosis patient who was ordered by the court to get treatment has disappeared from an Albuquerque, New Mexico, hospital.

The unnamed patient was supposed to receive round-the-clock observation at Presbyterian Hospital, which did not happen, and he left the hospital, KRQE reports.

“To my knowledge this has never happened at this facility before,” Presbyterian Hospital Administrator Doyle Boykin said, according to KQRE.

The man has a history of refusing treatment, the New Mexico Department of Health said. For the safety of the public, however, the health department sought a court order to isolate and hospitalize the patient. A private security firm was also hired to ensure that at least 14 days of therapy was administered.

An investigation into the man's escape has been launched by the health department while Presbyterian insists that is did everything it was supposed to do.

“I believe that Presbyterian and the department of health worked very closely to protect this particular patient and public safety and did everything we could,” Boykin said, KQRE reports.

The patient is believed to be more at risk than those he comes into contact with because he received 12 days of intensive treatment, drastically reducing his chances of spreading the disease.

“I really feel the most important thing is to get him back into care for his own health, but I really don’t want people to be overly worried or concerned that he’s a risk to the general public,” Dr. Linda Gorgos, the the medical director for the Infectious Disease Bureau, said, according to KQRE.