Patient with machete injury allegedly limps off with purloined suture kit

Posted July 18, 2013, at 6:07 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Police are searching for a man who is believed to have stolen a pricey suture kit Thursday afternoon from the Waldo County General Hospital emergency room after going there to seek treatment for a machete wound to his foot.

Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden said Thursday that hospital staff called to report the theft about 2 p.m. Medical personnel had left the patient and a friend alone in a cubicle while attending to other patients and preparing to clean and suture the man’s cut foot.

The man and woman, who are not being named by police because they have not been charged with any crime, apparently left the hospital before staff returned to treat the machete injury.

“When the hospital staff went into the cubicle, they reported the suture kit, containing several hundred dollars worth of equipment, was gone,” McFadden said. “They deduced that the patient or the female acquaintance took it.”

The kit contained medical items such as sutures, forceps and scissors, but apparently no scalpels.

“Nothing overtly weaponizable,” McFadden said.

Police continued to look for the man and woman Thursday afternoon.

“We’re not asking for the public’s help. It’s just a matter of getting in touch with them,” McFadden said. “Right now, they’re patients. Once we charge them — if we charge them — with a criminal offense, then they become suspects in a crime.”

McFadden said the injury had not been reported to him as the result of an assault because it appeared to be a self-inflicted accident.

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