Waitakere Hospital will launch an investigation into how a mental health patient being escorted to a secure unit managed to evade a security guard and a nurse before scaling a metal fence and disappearing.
West Auckland man Adam Tan has not been seen for six days causing police, family and friends to launch a large-scale search.
The 22-year-old illustrator was taken to the hospital's emergency department on Monday, October 27 about 3am by his family after becoming distressed and asking for help.
His sister Cindy Tan said he allowed himself to be admitted to the mental health unit, Waiatarau, and was saying goodbye to his family before he ran away.
"At that point he was complying. He might have already planned to escape or maybe they weren't worried about him running away because he was willing to go with them," said Cindy.
But before he could be led to the car he broke away from the security officer an a nurse, scaled a metal fence and ran through a car park before disappearing.
"We saw him run away and everyone kind of didn't realise it. It was such a shock because we were almost at that stage of feeling relief the he had agreed to stay in hospital and just for him to do that was really devastating and shocking," said Cindy.
"My father tried to run after him, his friend tried to run after him but by then he was just gone."
Waitemata District Health Board spokesman Matthew Rogers said Tan had arrived in an "acute state" at the hospital's emergency department.
"He had been assessed and placed under the Mental Health Act for further assessment at a secure facility in another building at the Waitakere Hospital site," he said.
"It appears that normal protocols for the transfer of patients were observed. An investigation into the circumstances of the man's departure will be held but our immediate priority is confirming his safety."
Cindy said she didn't blame the hospital for her brother's disappearance, but hoped the security measures would be improved.
"I don't want to blame anyone. It was so hard to judge because he's such a smart person and even with his mindset he was just scared I think he did make us believe he was willing to go," she said.
Tan's parents have been deeply upset by his disappearance, but were trying to be positive.
"No one ever expects something like this to happen. They're trying to keep positive and hope that he knows what he's doing, that he's just trying to figure it out by himself by being alone and then he'll come home when he's ready."