Family of missing man learns he died at hospital, not discharged as initially believed

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 23:25:24-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A metro Detroit family was frantically searching the streets of Detroit on Sunday for 75-year-old Melvin Field, who had dementia.

The family says at the end of January, he was taken by ambulance from his nursing home to Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit with COVID-19.

Over the weekend when the family called to check on him, they say they were told he’d been discharged on Friday, without the family knowing.

“There’s no telling if he’s got frostbite or hypothermia or if he’s even alive wherever he is,” Field's daughter Renee Prevost said on Sunday. "He should have never been released without being released to someone or back to the nursing home.”

The family spent Sunday searching the area around the hospital and even filed a missing persons report with Detroit police.

But on Monday afternoon, the family says the received another call from the hospital saying Field was actually not released Friday, and instead had died in the hospital on Friday.

“I said, 'Wait, what?!' We’ve been looking through the streets of Detroit for him. We’ve been searching in the cold thinking he was, you know, out on his own," Prevost said.

The hospital sent a statement that read:

“Mr. Field passed away at Sinai-Grace Hospital on February 4 and our staff made numerous attempts to reach out to the family but were unsuccessful. We have since been in communication with the family and offer our deepest sympathies for their loss.”

However, Renee says both she and her mother had no missed calls or voice mails, saying they even called and visited the hospital Sunday to try and get answers.

“We went to the hospital numerous times, asking questions, talking to security, (saying) 'Can you help us? Can you find my dad? Can you show me which way he went when he left?'" Prevost said. "To find out he’s been deceased for three days? How does that happen?”

Renee believes someone at the hospital misread the information, adding that the error has led to a nightmare for her family.

“How do you say they’ve been discharged when actually they passed away? That’s an error that is unacceptable," Prevost said.

Because Field was on the COVID-19 floor, the family was not able to visit him in person but say they called and checked on him regularly, having last head his voice at the end of January.