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Family says Fraser Health failed missing Maple Ridge woman

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A Maple Ridge family is desperately searching for a woman who vanished 13 days ago after security escorted her out of the Ridge Meadows Hospital.

The family of Rebecca Harbowy told CTV News she was left on a dark street, alone, in the middle of the night, and hasn’t been seen since that evening.

“We would do anything to have her home,” said Rebecca’s sister, Rachel Bertoia.

According to family, Rebecca has a drug addiction and had been trying to detox at her parents’ home, where she lives.

“But that afternoon, she became very confused and disorientated and was saying strange things and not making sense,” said Debbie Harbowy, Rebecca’s mother.

An ambulance was called, and after paramedics checked her over, Rebecca was taken to Ridge Meadows Hospital.

“The night doctor told me she would be admitted and be there for a minimum of three days,” said Debbie.

But she said she left the hospital, there was an incident between her daughter and a health-care worker. The family has been told that Rebecca threw apple juice at a nurse.

Bertoia said given her sister's confused state of mind, she wishes health-care workers would have tried to de-escalate the situation and called police.

Instead, family said, security escorted Rebecca out of the hospital and off the property, though she had no coat, phone, wallet or money.

“She didn’t go in a homeless person,” Bertoia said. “She came in from an ambulance with someone who loves her. Why would they think it’s OK to leave someone on the side of the road without anything, without anyone? At 1:30 in the morning, a woman, a 36-year-old woman, they didn’t even care to call her a cab. It’s infuriating."

The family said Fraser Health only called them after Rebecca left. Her mom said it took about 25 minutes to drive back to the hospital, and by the time she did, her daughter was gone. The family said they looked through the night for her without success. They said Fraser Health failed Rebecca.

Fraser Health declined an interview with CTV News, but in an email said their thoughts are with the family.

“We will work directly with the patient’s family to answer any questions they have as we know this is a very distressful time,” the statement reads.

Fraser Health said it would not discuss the details of the case in order to “protect the confidentiality of our patients.”

It also said in the statement that "adult patients can discharge themselves against medical advice.”

There have been ongoing searches for the missing woman, and family and friends have put up more than 150 posters. Family has also gone door-to-door in the area where she may have walked, handing out information sheets with her picture. RCMP have launched an investigation into the disappearance.

The family also said they have obtained video surveillance that shows Rebecca walking in the middle of River Road, in the 22130 block, on the night she disappeared. They are asking anyone who may have seen her to contact police.

Meanwhile, Rebecca’s emotional family said they are devastated by her disappearance.

“Rebecca is a fighter, so we want to make sure we are fighting just as hard,” Bertoia said. 

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