The deaf, mute and autistic woman who disappeared after being discharged from a Queens hospital on Christmas Eve was found on Saturday – and survived living on the subway for three weeks.
Samantha Primus’ sister Ghislaine Primus and two good Samaritans located the missing woman at the Bowling Green station in Lower Manhattan after receiving a tip that she was on the 1 train.
“My heart dropped, my heart dropped,” Ghislaine said at an evening news conference.
Samantha was dehydrated, 10 pounds lighter and had swollen feet, he said.
“He was wearing slippers and a pair of socks in… this cold, and he survived by jumping from train to train, looking and hoping it would come home. And we found her,” added Ghislaine and Samantha’s sister Sophia Primus.
Samantha is now being treated at Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, her family said, as she weighs her legal options against Queens Hospital Center, which claims it prematurely discharged the 46-year-old on a freezing night.
Samantha left her sister Joanna Peck’s Elmont home, where she was staying for the holidays, in early December. 23 in an attempt to find her way back to her mother’s house in Brooklyn.
That night, a passerby in Queens found Samantha lying on the ground in 18-degree weather, apparently in need of help.
EMS took her to Queens Hospital Center, but staff let the deaf and non-verbal woman out at 2 a.m. — when temperatures reached 7 degrees — with nothing but a list of homeless shelters.
“If they had done their duty, my sister would not have spent those horrible three weeks in the cold. An apology will never be enough. We wonder what hearts and minds are working in this hospital,” said Sofia, adding that her sister arrived at the hospital without an ID.
The family is now taking legal action against the hospital, claiming the hospital neglected to take appropriate care to discharge the disabled woman.
“If the Nassau County police report is accurate, then it is clear that this hospital was not only negligent but heartless and appropriate legal action will be taken,” said the family’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein. “The city needs to be held accountable for the actions of those who work for it in their hospitals.”
Samantha’s family spent the last three weeks searching for her constantly, paying close attention to trains as most tipsters reported seeing her riding the tracks.
Still, no police officers patrolling the subways came into contact with the woman, said Chaplain Kevin McCall of the Crisis Action Center.
“So many policemen are patrolling the subway but not a single policeman found her. It was right there,” McCall said.