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The British government is trying to track down a family that abandoned an 82-year-old man suffering from advanced Alzheimer's disease in a London hospital waiting room.

The family, which is living in southern Spain, said it couldn't care for the man. Police said they broke no law by leaving the man at a hospital where he had been previously treated.

Staff at the Romford Oldchurch Hospital in east London noticed the smartly dressed old man sitting alone and confused in a waiting room Oct. 25.

A letter was left with the man's birth certificate at a hospital reception desk. "We cannot cope anymore, and we just want him to get good care," said the letter, signed by his wife. "Please look after him," she said, adding he needed "special care and attention."

In the United States, abandoning an elderly relative has been an offense in most states since several cases -- dubbed "Granny Dumping" -- shocked the country in the 1990s.

But it is not illegal in Britain.

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