Eighty-one-year-old dementia patient Celso Heredia was found this weekend in Florida after hospital employees in Brooklyn discharged him and bought him a bus ticket to his hometown. No one knew where the non-English speaking Heredia was for days.

Heredia appeared very confused when NYPD officers found him walking on the chronically busy Brooklyn-Queens expressway back in June.

"We asked him where he was," Detective Anthony Barbee said. "He said he thought he was in California. He thought it was the year 2005."

Doctors at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Brooklyn diagnosed him with "altered mental status" when he was admitted. But amid major shake ups at LICH, last week it seemed that Heredia had slipped through the cracks.

"An 81-year-old man, Spanish speaking, no address, no family here - they discharged him and bought him a Greyhound bus ticket in the middle of a heat wave on Thursday night," a nurse at LICH told the Brooklyn Eagle. "A 36-hour ride with stopovers somewhere in the south, all by himself. He had no place to go, and nurses would not complete the discharge -- they kept him there."

But somehow, even with armed guards on the doors, Heredia disappeared last Wednesday.

The mix-up coincides with a battle between LICH and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, as doctors and nurses fight to keep the hospital open. Employees and administrators at both hospitals seek to place the blame for Heredia's disappearance on each other. Meanwhile, everyone is happy that Heredia has been found safe and in good health.

"He's fine; we didn't find anything wrong with him," said Sgt. David Cuti, Fort Pierce, Fla., police spokesman. "It was no big deal. We were done with it in two minutes."

"We're glad Mr. Heredia is home," said Bob Bellafiore, SUNY Downstate spokesman.