How To Find Out If Someone Is In The Hospital

hospital scene

Whether you are trying to locate a missing person or just trying to track down someone’s whereabouts, knowing how to find out if someone is in the hospital can help you cover all of your bases. 

Please note, that the rules and regulations can vary. The information in this article is not legal advice, it’s only meant to give you general background information about how to check if someone is in the hospital.

Also, in this article I try to cover all bases. Which means we’ll discuss scenarios that may be uncomfortable to read about such as people who arrive at the emergency room unconscious and remain unidentified. (This actually happened to a cousin of mine and I was able to track her down at the hospital using the tactics described below. Thankfully, she had a full recovery.)

What You Should Know About Looking for Someone in the Hospital

First, it is important to know that there are laws governing what information can be given out about medical and psychiatric patients. In the US, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is designed to protect the privacy of the patients themselves so that details about their medical or psychiatric conditions do not become known without their permission. Of course, there are exceptions, such as in certain cases where police need to access the information clandestinely for the purpose of police case work.   

How to Find Out What Hospital Someone Is In

When trying to track down a loved one who you suspect is in a hospital, it can be difficult trying to find out what hospital they are most likely to be in. The first step is to consider the hospitals in the area where your loved one was last seen, or was most likely to have been. 

How to check local hospitals to find a missing person
Example of Google Maps search of hospitals in the area of Kent, Washington

A simple search on Google Maps can show you the nearest hospitals. For example, if you are looking near the city of Kent in Washington state, simply search for “hospitals around Kent, WA” in Google Maps and it will display relevant results. 

Once you get started with calling or visiting hospitals, you can ask the personnel for ideas of where to try next. They might be able to direct you to the hospitals that are more worthwhile to check out based on the details you provide. 

How to Find Someone in a Mental Hospital

It is also important to know that some hospitals are different than others. For example, if a person has been admitted to a mental hospital, you will probably not be able to find out if they are there. Why? Because if a mental hospital discloses that a particular person is there, by-default they are also disclosing that the person has a mental illness – which is not allowed to do. 

Does this mean there is no way to check with mental hospitals to see if your loved one is there? Not exactly. But you will probably need to get the police involved and if the police do find out that your loved one is there, they will probably only be able to tell you with your loved ones permission (assuming your loved one is not a minor). Additionally, if the police succeed in tracking down your loved one—at a mental hospital, or anywhere else for that matter—in normal circumstances they will inform you that they succeeded in tracking down your loved one even if they can’t disclose their specific whereabouts.   

This kind of scenario plays out sometimes where the person who disappeared needs to deal with their own issues and they don’t necessarily want other people, even close family, knowing about it. This can be heartbreaking and worrying. And in certain situations, prayer may be the only viable solution until the loved one is ready for your help. 

How to Find Someone in a General Hospital

Unlike with mental hospitals, you might be able to find out if your missing loved one is in a general hospital just by calling the hospitals in the area and asking them to check according to the person’s name. However, there are two caveats to this:

  1. If a person is at the hospital, but has not been officially admitted yet—for example, if they are being treated in the emergency room—then their name might not be in the system. Therefore, if you have strong reason to believe that is where your missing loved one is, it could be worth calling the same hospitals and checking more than once.
  2. If a person was admitted to the hospital but their identity is unknown—which can happen if they arrive to the hospital unconscious—then you won’t be able to track them down with only their name. However, if you have reason to suspect this might have happened you can call the hospital and explain the situation. If they have an unidentified patient (who they will refer to as John or Jane Doe) who fits the description, they might be able to help you find them (as mentioned above, this is how I was able to find my cousin). You can also go to local area hospitals with a picture of your loved one and ask if people recognize them. Of course, you could also hang up a missing person poster around the hospitals. Of course, you can also ask the police to help you. 

Here is a video with some helpful advice about how to go about looking for someone in a hospital. It’s relatively old, but it’s still relevant.

How to Check Hospitals for Missing Persons

Final Thoughts About How to Check If Someone Is in the Hospital

In this article we’ve looked at strategies for how to find out what hospital someone is in and how to find out if they are even in the hospital. We’ve seen that this can be a difficult process. When going about this kind of thing it can be stressful and confusing and it can also be difficult to decide what to do in what order. 

I recommend making a list of all of the hospitals you want to check and everything you want to try to do to try to track down your loved one. Then give each one a number between one and ten indicating how worthwhile it is to do it. Start with the higher number options first and go through the list. This way, you have a plan, which makes you more likely to stay on track.

I pray that your situation has a happy outcome.