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Missing TB Patient Found

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Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
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Tampa Police have found a homeless woman who left Tampa General Hospital this past weekend before she had learned that she has tuberculosis.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Sarah Williams, 53, was located Tuesday evening at S. Dale Mabry Highway and Inman Avenue. Officers called for an ambulance, which took Williams back to Tampa General.

ABC Action News had earlier reported that Williams left the hospital on Saturday before finding out she was positive for TB, and that a Tampa General doctor alerted the police on Sunday.

A police spokesman said the alert was issued for the welfare of the public, but the physician's identity and motive for alerting police were not known.  Release of patients' identifying information is usually withheld under federal law, but there are certain exceptions in the interest of public health or interest of the patient herself.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.After serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, Gentry worked for a number of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel. She was a Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95 and earned an Master's in Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1996. She directed a journalism fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for four years.Gentry created Health News Florida, an independent non-profit health journalism publication, in 2006, and served as editor until September, 2014, when she became a special correspondent. She and Health News Florida joined WUSF in 2012.
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