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Patient found in ceiling above emergency room

McDuffie Regional Medical Center operations were back to normal by Sunday after Thomson police found a patient who had gained access to the ceiling above the emergency department.

"The patient was found unharmed in the hospital," according to a news release issued by the hospital on Tuesday.

Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson said Anthony Curley, 25, of Dearing, has been charged with one count of criminal trespass, one count of interfering with government property and one count of misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer. Curley was lodged in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center.

Nelson said Curley went to the hospital emergency room Friday evening, complaining of mental issues. Curley asked to use the restroom. Nelson said a nurse heard a commotion in the restroom and entered to see Curley climbing into the ceiling area.

Emergency responders were called and searched the hospital ceiling and roof area until about 3 a.m.

Early Saturday afternoon, Nelson was contacted. He and four other Thomson police officers responded. Two National Guardsmen joined other responders.

Police found Curley in the duct area above the emergency room. Nelson said Curley appeared dehydrated and fearful. He was treated by medical personnel before he was released to police custody.

"No other patients were harmed or at risk during this incident," according to the hospital's news release. "McDuffie Regional Medical Center would like to thank the local enforcement and fire officials for their assistance during the incident."

Web posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011

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