Nurse from prestigious NYC hospital goes missing near Jackson Heights home

Queens

Richard Albright (left) and his wife holding his medication and a photo of him (right.) (Credit: NYPD, PIX11)

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens —  The wife of a missing nurse from the Hospital for Special Surgery said Richard “Max” Albright would always find a way to let her know he was okay, so she wouldn’t worry.

“He would crawl through broken glass and swim through a river of hot lava to let me know where he was,”  Cathy Albright told PIX11 News at their Jackson Heights home Thursday.  “He’s a devoted husband.”

But Richard Albright, 69, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Thursday, Oct. 14,  when surveillance footage shows him leaving the couple’s building on Junction Boulevard  at 11:18 a.m. He’s then seen making a left turn toward Northern Boulevard.

“He doesn’t have a secret life; he’s just an honest person,” Albright’s wife noted. “Almost to a fault.”

She said her husband loves being a nurse.

“He loves the hospital and everyone loves him,” she said. “His co-workers are beside themselves.”  

Jennifer Rentas, senior vice president and chief of staff at the Hospital for Special Surgery, called Albright a “respected member of the HSS family.”

“Richard is beloved as a colleague and expert in a highly distinguished profession,” Rentas said. “He treats each patient with compassion and is an example for others in his positive bedside manner.”

He has worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery for 16 years, ever since he and his wife moved to New York from Amarillo, Texas.

“We love New York, all the food,” Cathy Albright said.  “We go all over.”

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Richard Albright helped care for COVID-19 patients at the hospital, which converted some of its units to deal with the overwhelming need for beds. 

“His main concern was not bringing it home to me,” Cathy Albright said, “because I’m diabetic.”

The worried wife said she was notified her husband’s phone received a text she sent at 1:30 p.m. last Thursday, but he never responded.  His cell phone is still going to voice mail.

Richard Albright was just finishing up three weeks of vacation and was supposed to return to work in Manhattan on Saturday, Oct. 16.  

The hospital’s Facebook page has a missing persons post for Albright, asking anyone with information to call the 115th Detective Squad at (718)  533-2002.

Cathy Albright said her husband was wearing slippers when he went for his walk last Thursday, because his regular shoes were hurting him.  He seems to be limping slightly in the surveillance footage.

And even though Richard Albright is an imposing six feet, three inches tall,  he’s dealt with numerous health concerns in recent years. His wife said Albright left the medicine he takes every day at home.

She said her husband requires blood thinners after undergoing three open heart surgeries, and also needs antibiotics every day to prevent infection after getting two knee replacements.  

Cathy Albright with photo of missing husband and his medicine (PIX11)

Cathy Albright said her husband has had a rich life, after he was raised for much of his childhood in South Africa by Southern Baptist missionary parents.  

Richard Albright attended college in Kentucky, getting a journalism degree followed by another one in nursing. He met his wife at the “Amarillo Globe” newspaper in Texas more than 20 years ago when he was serving as business editor there.

When the couple moved to New York, Cathy Albright said her husband resumed work in nursing because the benefits and pay were good.

“He’s a good nurse,” Cathy Albright said.  “He cares about people.”

The Hospital for Special Surgery has more than 100,000 followers on Facebook, so investigators were hoping the notice may reach a large amount of people.

U.S. News and World Report ranked the hospital No. 1 for orthopedics and rheumatology treatment.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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