Patient vanishes after walking out of hospital

January 16, 2012 4:33:31 PM PST
A Bay City doctor vanished more than a week ago after checking himself into Memorial Hermann Hospital as a patient for a brain tumor. The family of Dr. James Rorig fears for his safety after his disappearance.

Nine days ago, Dr. Rorig walked out of the hospital wearing a red shirt and blue jeans, and he hasn't been seen since. His family and friends are worried sick. They fear he could be jeopardy because of a life threatening medical condition.

A Chicago native, Dr. Rorig launched his medical practice in Bay City eight years ago. Since he knew no one, through the years his colleagues, patients and friends became his family.

Office manager Melody Cadenas said, "He's a brilliant, genius doctor and has a lot of patients that love him."

Friends say over the past several months Dr. Rorig's personality began to change. Ten days ago, on January 6, he received some bad news. Doctors told him he had a brain tumor and on that same day, they arranged for LifeFlight to take him to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center for treatment.

"He was very clear he didn't want any treatment if it was something major that he didn't think he could recover from," said Terry Stewart, a friend of Rorig's.

Less than 24 hours later, on Saturday, January 7, at around 5pm Dr. Rorig walked out of the hospital without his cell phone, money or ID and simply vanished. His family filed a missing persons report with police. Friends believe he's not thinking clearly and may be in desperate need of medical attention.

"We don't care anymore if he does the treatment or not. His family just wants to take him home and take care of him," Cadenas said. "We just want him to come back."

Dr. Rorig also left the hospital without his seizure medicine.

The hospital issued the following statement:

    "On Friday, January 6, James Rorig, M.D., was admitted to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. On Saturday, January 7, following an afternoon check, hospital personnel promptly recognized Dr. Rorig was no longer in his room.

    A hospital video confirms he exited the hospital at approximately 4:15 p.m., nine minutes after he last had contact with a Memorial Hermann nurse.

    Hospital personnel immediately notified family, physicians, hospital security, Texas Medical Center police and the Houston Police Department to alert them to Dr. Rorig's disappearance.

    The health and safety of our patients are of upmost priority to Memorial Hermann. We will continue to work with HPD and the Rorig family upon request."
    - Alex Rodriguez, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center

Friends and colleagues have checked some of the local homeless shelters. They've already passed out dozens of flyers.

If you see Dr. Rorig, you're asked to call Houston police.