Probe after grandfather is discharged at 3.30am
8:56am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Local
HOSPITAL bosses have launched an investigation to discover why a grandfather was discharged at 3.30am and left to wander the streets.
Senior staff at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Royal Bolton Hospital, confirmed they had met to discuss the events that led to 64-year-old Michael Atkinson being found in sub-zero temperatures an hour later by police.
They said a “full review” was taking place.
The grandfather, who suffered a stroke in 2005 and had been taking morphine which made him confused, had gone in to hospital for a brain scan following a suspected second stroke. An ambulance was supposed to collect him from his home in Breightmet, between 3.30pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday March 5, but he was not collected until 11.40pm.
He was discharged at 3.30am, and was discovered freezing and apparently wearing a hospital wristband that was intended for another a patient — a two-year-old girl. Mr Atkinson’s wife, Helen, said her husband was distraught after the incident. She wants answers and is threatening to sue.
Hospital bosses said nurses had tried to order a taxi for Mr Atkinson but had been unable to contact his family.
They said hospital patients were free to leave at any time unless they were given a “deprivation of liberty” order, which is made when patients are considered to be an imminent danger to themselves and not mentally fit to make their own decisions.
A trust spokesman said a “safeguarding strategy meeting” had been held last Wednesday, attended by relevant senior staff.
The hospital will now write to Mr Atkinson’s family with the results of the investigation.
The spokesman said: “The nurse in charge asked Mr Atkinson how he would get home and offered to book a taxi for him from reception.
“She asked him to wait in reception once the transport was booked but he left the department. Every effort was made to alert Mr Atkinson’s family that he had left the hospital.”
The incident took place just days after a 90-year-old man, who was reported missing from the hospital at 10am on March 2, was discovered in Bristol, 175 miles away, and a 76-year-old male patient walked more than a mile from the hospital in his pyjamas and dressing gown before he was stopped and taken in by a hairdresser.