United Medical Center

Maryland Hit-Run Victim, 74, Had Dementia, Was Discharged by DC Hospital

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The family of 74-year-old Earl Rodgers knew he went to United Medical Center in Southeast D.C. The hospital said they would call his son when he was ready to be discharged, Earl Rodgers Jr. said.

The next day, police told them he had been killed by a hit-and-run driver eight miles away.

Earl Rodgers was a retired construction worker who had dementia, his heartbroken family said Tuesday. They want to know why Rodgers was released from the hospital, how he got to the crash scene in Forestville, Maryland, and why the driver didn't stop to help him.

"I'm just hoping it's a bad dream," Earl Rodgers Jr. said.

The family walked in the rain on Tuesday near where their loved one's body was found.

Earl Rodgers, of Largo, was transported to United Medical Center on Saturday evening after experiencing shortness of breath.

"They said that they most likely would keep him because he was experiencing heart pain, trouble with the heart, and they would contact me when it's time to be discharged," his son said.

But he never got that call.

Police told him his father's body was found on southbound Route 4 at Old Marlboro Pike at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. He was found lying in the grass off the right shoulder.

State police said he was hit by one, possibly two, vehicles.

Earl Rodgers Jr. later learned that his father had been released from the hospital just after midnight Sunday morning. He said he spoke to a doctor who treated him.

"I asked him did he know that he had dementia, and he said yes but that he thought after talking with him that he was coherent enough and could leave under his own powers," the victim's son said.

United Medical Center declined to comment on the case, citing patient privacy rights. A spokeswoman said in a statement, "We will do the research to make sure that there was not some violation of hospital policy."

A car that hit Earl Rodgers may have been silver or white. No additional description was released. Anyone with information is asked to contact police. Callers can remain anonymous.

Earl Rodgers was a "very good man," his son said.

"He would give you the shirt off his back," he said.

Earlier this year, the family of an 82-year-old woman with dementia said Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C. released her without notifying anyone and put her into a Lyft wearing only a hospital gown.

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