Update 11:45 a.m.: Good news: Valerie Gates was located about an hour ago and is safe. According to Officer Albie Esparza, sheriff's deputies located Gates at 16th and Potrero at about 10:40 a.m. She is now back at the hospital being treated.
Original Story 7 a.m.: San Francisco police need your help locating 34-year-old Valerie Gates, who reportedly walked out of San Francisco General Hospital last night while being treated for a recent injury.
Officer Albie Esparza says Gates was had been at the hospital after a recent surgery on her neck. She is considered at-risk because she still needs vital post-op medications, authorities say.
Gates is described as a 5-foot-3 African American female, weighing 120 pounds. She has brown eyes and black hair. Gates was last seen with a bandage around her neck from the surgery; she was wearing a green jacket, burgundy pants, and was carrying a black purse.
Gates is homeless and known to frequent the Tenderloin area.
Rachel Kagan, spokeswoman for the hospital, released the following statement to SF Weekly via email:
The hospital followed its strengthened AWOL policies. The clinical staff worked [with] the sheriff's security staff to conduct a full search of campus, the family was notified and a missing person's report was filed [with] the SFPD. The patient was in good condition when she chose to leave the hospital before her treatment was complete. We hope that she will be located in the community soon and return to the hospital to complete her care.
If you see Gates, call the police immediately at 415-553-0123 or just dial 911.