On my second twelve in a row, I had a patient with declining mental status and hepatic cirrhosis. He was also a 'code brown-er' (meaning poo, and lots of it!). But just as nice as could be. I'd requested a sitter but no one was available until 3:00. He had yanked out his IV and his Foley bag was full of blood. I would have to keep a close eye on this one. I asked a tech to take him for a walk while I discharged someone else. I came straight back from the discharge to check on him... not in his room. The tech said he'd left him there a half hour ago. His tele monitor wasn't picking up, meaning he'd left the floor. He'd removed his brief (diaper), which meant somewhere in the hospital was a confused 47-year-old in a gown with his bare butt hanging out the back, a walker with a big 'ole 'Property of Hospital' sign on it, and a telemetry monitor to boot.
I called security while the techs searched the floor. I felt like a big dope calling the physicians and saying "I lost the patient". He was found outside of the hospital, starting down the road, in the snow, in his little hospital footies. His feet were like blocks of ice. I felt like a parent saying "Where were you? I was worried SICK!"
Needless to say, I got a sitter.