Unconscious woman at HUP identified after four months

    The family of an unconscious woman who has been at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for four months finally found her Sunday. She had been unidentified until family members found out about a photo of her that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer over the weekend.

    Hospital officials said the patient, who is in her mid-40s, was brought to the hospital in August after going into cardiac arrest and collapsing at a park in Kensingston. The woman has been unconscious and has had little brain activity since then.

    Patricia Meehan, associate director of social work at the hospital, said the patient’s family lives in suburbs north of Philadelphia. They’d been looking for her at hospitals in that area.

    Meehan said the hospital’s earlier efforts to identify the woman, including looking for identification, reaching out to homeless shelters and police officers and running a television story in September, were unsuccessful.

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    “We’re relieved that we have found the family,” Meehan said. “We really want them to be involved and take over her decision making now that we’ve located them.”

    The hospital is waiting for the necessary legal proof of the woman’s identity and the relationship of those claiming to be her mother and children. It will wait until a court defines a legal guardian to determine who will make decisions about future care.

    Nicole Mendez-Martinez, the patient’s social worker, was the one who sent the patient’s photo to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    “It was bittersweet definitely,” Mendez- Martinez said. “I was happy that they were coming in and they would be able to identify her, and sad for the family to find her in the condition she’s in.”

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