San Francisco police are searching for a missing woman who walked out of San Francisco General Hospital Thursday after a surgery and is considered medically at risk.
Valerie Gates, 34, was being treated at the hospital when she walked out, and is in need of vital post operative medications, according to San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza.
She has a bandage around her neck from a recent surgery, and is described as a black female, 5 feet 3 inches tall and 120 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair, Esparza said.
Gates was last seen wearing a green jacket and burgundy pants and carrying a black purse.
She is homeless, and is known to frequent the Tenderloin area of San Francisco, Esparza said.
Anyone who sees Gates should call police at 415-553-0123 or 911.
San Francisco General Hospital made headlines last year when a missing patient's body was found at a locked stairwell in the hospital.
San Francisco's sheriff acknowledged that after 57-year-old Lynne Spalding was reported missing on Sept. 21, 2013, deputies never searched the stairwell where an engineer eventually found her body. Her body was found nearly three weeks later.
Friday morning, the hospital told NBC Bay Area that they do believe new security procedures are working, despite this latest incident. They say the staff immediately worked with the sheriff's department, launched a vigorous search for the missing patient, and filed a missing person's report, all in line with their strengthened AWOL policies. They also say Gates was in good condition before she chose to leave before her treatment was concluded.