Manitoba

Missing woman's daughter questions why hospital let mom go out unsupervised

Janelle DePeazer says she questions why Grace Hospital allowed her mother, Catherine Curtis, to go on a four-hour walk by herself while suffering from anxiety and depression.

Catherine Curtis, 60, went missing after Grace Hospital sanctioned a 4-hour walk on Monday

Missing woman's daughter questions why hospital let mom go out unsupervised

6 years ago
Duration 2:17
Janelle DePeazer says she questions why Grace Hospital allowed her mother, Catherine Curtis, to go on a four-hour walk by herself while suffering from anxiety and depression.

Janelle DePeazer says she questions why Grace Hospital allowed her mother, Catherine Curtis, to go on a four-hour walk by herself while suffering from anxiety and depression.

Curtis left the hospital on Monday for an unsupervised walk and never returned. DePeazer said all she knew was Grace Hospital permitted her mother to leave unaccompanied for one hour.

"Not a lot of communication with the hospital about these types of privileges, apparently she had privileges to go on unaccompanied [walks] up to four hours, previously I had thought it was one hour," she said.

"I'm not sure when that changed or why."

DePeazer said her mother was voluntarily admitted to hospital on April 13 for psychiatric issues. 

Catherine Curtis is described as 5-foot-4 and about 85 pounds with blue eyes and long white hair that was in a ponytail. (Courtesy Winnipeg Police Service)
She found out her mother went missing on Monday afternoon after the hospital called her brother to say her mother had not returned from her walk. Nurses told DePeazer later that day her mother refused to take medication to treat depression symptoms.

"She was feeling quite anxious she muttered under her breath, 'Well I'm dying anyway,' kind of hopeless comments," she said. DePeazer told nurses her mother had expressed disturbing thoughts during a visit to the hospital the Thursday before her mother went missing.

Given her warning and given her mother's refusal to take medication, staff should have made changes to her treatment plan and reconsidered her walking privileges, DePeazer said.

"It is concerning," she said. "I don't know why attention wasn't drawn to that in combination with all of these other things."

DePeazer wants the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) to review its policies.

A spokesperson for the WRHA said the agency would not be undertaking a critical incident review.

"No new concerns were identified by either her existing care team or other health professionals that reviewed her information and they did not identify any risk to Ms. Curtis' safety that was missed," said the WRHA.

"A patient does not need to be completely free of symptoms to have privileges afforded to them in their care plan," the spokesperson said.

Search for Curtis ongoing

Curtis is described as 5-foot-4 and about 85 pounds with blue eyes and long white hair worn in a ponytail.

She might be wearing a navy blue jacket, blue jeans, white sneakers and either a white baseball cap or knitted grey toque, police said.

The family said they are coping as best as they can.

"We're so busy we're just trying and trying. The days go by, the hours go by..and so you get hope, you get losing hope, it's all a bunch of things going on together," DePeazer said.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is urged to contact the missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.

With files from Nelly Gonzalez

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