WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A resident of a Williamsville health care facility has gone missing.
But who’s at fault depends on who you ask.
Staff at Williamsville Suburban Residential Health Care Facility said Paul Cieslak, 63, was last seen on security video getting dropped off in front of the facility around 6:42 p.m. Thursday.
In the video, Cieslak was seen walking north on S. Union Rd. after being dropped off, instead of entering the building.
While conducting their 10 p.m. rounds, staff at the facility say Cieslak was not in his room.
The Erie County Sheriff’s office says Cieslak suffers from cognitive disorders, possibly Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They issued a Silver Alert Friday afternoon.
Last year in July, Cieslak was found safe after walking away from the Comprehensive Health Care facility on Reist Street in Williamsville.
Cieslak is described as a white man standing at 6’1″ and weighing 220 pounds. He has blue eyes, white/gray hair, a white/gray mustache and a scruffy beard.
When last seen, Cieslak was wearing a red baseball cap, gray sweatpants, a black coat with fur and black sneakers.
Representatives from Buffalo Transportation said Friday afternoon they were never told Cieslak had dementia. Had they been told, they said they would have followed a protocol that requires them to take the patient inside.
They also said no one from the nursing home was there to meet them for the drop off.
Richard Sullivan, of the Harris Beach law firm, represents Williamsville Suburban. He said Cieslak was released from the nursing home to ECMC Wednesday evening.
“We called ECMC, he was taken away to ECMC,” Sullivan said. “We then called back to check on his welfare and they said they had taken him back and dropped him off in the parking lot. Nobody had walked him in the door or anything.”
“The bottom line is that nobody walked him in the door, or informed us that he was on his way back,” Sullivan said.
Before checking his room, the nursing home staff followed up with the hospital to ask when Cieslak would be returned, Sullivan said. The hospital told them they already sent him back via the transportation service, Sullivan said.
ECMC disputes that.
Hospital spokesman Peter Cutler said Friday their records show nurses contacted Williamsville Suburban when Cieslak was en route.
He also said their agreement with Buffalo Transport requires the agency to take a passenger inside their destination, even in some cases take them to their room. Cutler said HIPPA regulations prevent the hospital from sharing a patient’s diagnosis with the transportation company.
Representatives of the transportation company said Friday no one informed them Cieslak had dementia.
When Cieslak walked away from a different medical facility in July, he was found unharmed at a hotel in Amherst 36 hours later. This time, however, he has no money, no credit cards and no vehicle, and authorities are hopeful he hasn’t traveled far.
The official government website, medicare.gov, reveals Williamsville Suburban is ranked among the lowest, with one-star ratings — or “much below average” — on health inspections and staffing. As far as overall quality, Williamsville Suburban is considered below average with two out of five stars.
Their state comparisons are similarly low.
According to the latest data from the New York State Department of Health, Williamsville Suburban has three times as many standard health citations as the state average, and far more overall citations than the average across New York.
Anyone with information on Cieslak’s whereabouts is asked to call Amherst police at (716) 689-1311.