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Brain Surgery Patient Sent Home in Cab, Ends Up on Steet in Gown

Photo Courtesy - KOMO-TV(SEATTLE) -- The ear-to-ear wound on James Absten's shaved head is still fresh, held together by a row of staples. Just last week, Absten, a 58-year-old man from Puyallup, Wash., had a fourth round of surgery for a brain tumor.

Now the medical center that treated Absten is under scrutiny, after sending him home from a post-operative check-up in a cab. The driver reportedly left him alone on a curb at 10:30 p.m., blocks away from the care facility where he was recovering from the surgery.

"He was in the hospital gown, only socks. It was wet rainy and cold out," a neighbor who found Absten told ABC News affiliate KOMO 4.

"I was, I was confused," Absten told KOMO.

Absten said he couldn't remember the address of the care facility after leaving the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle last Thursday, so he guessed.

Absten was safely returned to his nearby care facility, Linden Grove Health Care Center.

Although Absten arrived at last Thursday's checkup in a specialized ambulance, the hospital sent him on his way with a cab voucher.

"We apologize to the patient and his family," Tina Mankowski, a spokesperson for the hospital, told KOMO 4. "This is not the way we discharge our patients."

Mankowski said an investigation into the incident was currently underway, and they agreed to update the Absten family on their findings by the end of this week and develop an action plan to prevent future miscommunications by the end of the month.

The Absten family has also filed a complaint with the state Health Department.

"I just don't want this to have to happen to anybody else," Absten's son, James Absten Jr., told KOMO.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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