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Diabetic woman trapped in O.C. bank for six hours

August 18, 2007|David Haldane and Nardine Saad | Times Staff Writers

A 73-year-old woman with diabetes was found unconscious after spending six hours trapped in an Orange County bank where employees accidentally locked her after closing, authorities said Friday.

Marian R. Prescher of Laguna Woods went to a Bank of America in the 24000 block of Paseo de Valencia in Laguna Hills sometime late Wednesday afternoon to inspect the contents of a box in a private room, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

When the bank closed at 6 p.m., he said, "they apparently forgot about her and locked her inside."

Shortly after midnight, a cleaning crew found the woman "unconscious and cold to the touch," Amormino said. Prescher was rushed to a hospital where she was treated for low blood sugar -- a condition referred to as diabetic shock -- and released.

"The good thing is that she's OK," Amormino said. "If they hadn't found her until they opened up the bank, she might have died."

On Friday, Bank of America issued a statement saying it was looking into the matter.

"Obviously, this is a terrible situation and we regret that this happened," the statement said. "We are taking this . . . very seriously, and are investigating . . . to fully understand all of the facts surrounding the incident. We have reached out to the family, and we hope for her full recovery."

Prescher could not be reached for comment Friday.

A neighbor said he had taken her to see her physician after the hospital released her Thursday.

"She was very confused," Richard Moreno, 74, said. "I asked her when she went to the bank and she had no idea when she went, or when they found her or how long she was there."

By Friday, Moreno said, Prescher "seemed better to me," though "still a little incoherent." He said she'd told him that her blood-sugar level had dropped to 20 by the time she was found.

"Anything under 60 for long periods of time can cause problems," said Dr. James Keany, an emergency physician at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo.

"You're probably not going to run into serious damage until you dip to 40. At 20 you are definitely at high risk for serious and maybe life-threatening situations."

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david.haldane@latimes.com

nardine.saad@latimes.com

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