WINNIPEG —; A family is sounding the alarm on Grace Hospital and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, after their son disappeared from the hospital’s care for hours on Saturday.
Ozzy McLellan, 19, disappeared on the afternoon of July 1. McLellan was being treated in the hospital’s psychiatric ward when he left the facility. He was found safe later that night by police, several kilometres away from Grace Hospital, where he was brought back into care.
But the McLellan family said the hospital made a number of assurances to them when Ozzy was admitted, that such an incident would not happen.
“They told us, ‘it’s a locked ward. He’ll be monitored, we’ll know where he is at all times. There’s staff on all the time, we’ll know where he is,’” said Ozzy’s mother, Charity McLellan.
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) acknowledged the incident and said it is investigating what led to the disappearance.
“We’re sorry about the anxiety this family has experienced,” a statement from the Health Authority read.
“We have taken extra precautions this weekend to ensure the safety of the patients in the unit by adding extra staff to assist in monitoring patients.”
Ozzy McLellan, left, is back in the care of Grace Hospital after his disappearance. Charity McLellan
Ozzy McLellan, left, is back in the care of Grace Hospital after his disappearance.
Charity McLellan said she was in a state of panic when she went to go visit her son and discovered he was not within the unit.
“When he was outside by himself, I was honestly scared. For himself. And for, who knows who else? I don’t know what he’s capable of.”
Grace Hospital was involved in a high-profile missing persons case earlier this year. Catherine Curtis, 60, was a patient at the hospital, being treated for anxiety and depression. Curtis was last seen leaving the hospital on April 25. Police dive teams found her body a week after her disappearance in nearby Sturgeon Creek.
The McLellan family said it is speaking out with the hope that there will now be better surveillance for their son and for other patients in the psychiatric unit.
Charity McLellan added, “[Ozzy] is going to have a wonderful life ahead of him. But if they do stuff like this? It doesn’t give me much hope.”