OAP left freezing and confused after 2am discharge from Stoke Mandeville Hospital

OAP left freezing and confused after 2am hospital discharge

OAP left freezing and confused after 2am hospital discharge

Julie Smith

First published in News
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A DEMENTIA sufferer was left freezing in a hospital gown outside her flat after being sent home from Stoke Mandeville in a taxi at 2am.

Health chiefs are investigating after furious daughter Julie Smith lodged a formal complaint – saying staff should have telephoned her when her mum was discharged.

Her 85-year-old mum had been taken by ambulance to a busy Stoke Mandeville Hospital late on Saturday, January 12 after complaining of breathing problems.

Julie says she was set to travel up to Aylesbury from her home in Sands, High Wycombe, to be with her but was advised not to by staff.

The 58-year-old told the Bucks Free Press: “I don't drive but was prepared to go over there. I was told there was no point at this stage as they will be checking her over.

“I gave them my contact details to let me know what was happening. By 3am on the 13th I was still waiting to hear, so rang A&E to be told by the receptionist that she had been discharged at 2am in a taxi.

“I was just amazed that they discharged her. They could have kept her till the morning or they could have contacted me because I was up and awake.”

Julie became worried as her mum, who she asked not be named, has begun suffering from dementia. She immediately called the taxi firm to find her mum was having problems directing the taxi driver to her sheltered home in Wooburn Green.

She had a three-way conversation with the control room and driver to direct the taxi to the right place, before being phoned back because her mum had no money or keys.

Julie paid over the phone by credit card and asked the driver to see her mum to the door and let her in with the spare key from the key safe. She and the call button emergency service then tried phoning her mum’s flat, but could not get an answer.

Julie, of Mill End Road, said: “We decided to let her be...that all this had upset her and I would give her some time and then call her. It was 5.30am by this time.

“At 6.30am I got a call from mum’s neighbour to say they had found her sitting in the lobby in just a hospital gown, so the taxi driver hadn't put her in her flat, the ambulance service had taken her without a bag with keys...and why was she sent home in a hospital gown on one of the coldest nights of this New Year?

“It was all so disorientating and upsetting for her.”

Julie said her mum’s clothes were also lost at the hospital, which was experiencing ‘serious operational problems’ that weekend, according to official NHS reports. A spike in winter illnesses such as norovirus had led to bed shortages and a surge of patients at the A&E department (see related links).

Sarah Hills, a spokesman for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust [BHT], which runs the hospital, said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Smith was unhappy with the care provided by the Trust when planning the discharge of her mother from our A&E department.

“We have been in contact with Mrs Smith regarding her concerns and are looking into the issues raised. We take all complaints seriously and take lessons from the outcomes of our investigations, where necessary.

“It is unusual for us to see a complaint such as this which is why we have already started looking into the circumstances surrounding this case."

The chief nurse at BHT has since issued another statement apologising for the way the discharge was handled - CLICK HERE

More than 2,600 patients were discharged from Buckinghamshire’s hospitals between the hours of 11pm and 6am last year.

The overnight discharge totals for 2011/12, obtained by the BFP using Freedom of Information laws, equate to about 2.5 per cent of patients.

About two-thirds [1,849] were from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which is the only one of the county’s hospitals with an A&E ward. Most others [806] were from Wycombe Hospital.

Bucks hospital chiefs said: "We work with patients and their families when planning discharges from our wards and departments and we have policies and procedures in place to discharge patients during the night only if we are confident they have the appropriate care in place at their place of residence."

Comments (27)

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11:23am Thu 24 Jan 13

MCarey says...

thats the problems these days as soon as they know you are ok push them out the door no matter what time of day or age of the patient, very poor standards Stoke Mandeville!
thats the problems these days as soon as they know you are ok push them out the door no matter what time of day or age of the patient, very poor standards Stoke Mandeville! MCarey
  • Score: 0

11:43am Thu 24 Jan 13

RenegadeJ007 says...

After all this misery caused to a patient and not a word of acknowledgement or apology. Actually I believe everyone can do without these empty promises, apologies and concerns and just open up High Wycombe hospital again. All these controversial problems will go away and the derelict building that is currently sat on Queen Alexandra Road starts to serve its role of what is built to do.
After all this misery caused to a patient and not a word of acknowledgement or apology. Actually I believe everyone can do without these empty promises, apologies and concerns and just open up High Wycombe hospital again. All these controversial problems will go away and the derelict building that is currently sat on Queen Alexandra Road starts to serve its role of what is built to do. RenegadeJ007
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Ivor'sbestfriend says...

Disgraceful, simple as that.
Disgraceful, simple as that. Ivor'sbestfriend
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Thu 24 Jan 13

miccles says...

Who in their right mind, would let an 85 year old woman, on her own, in a taxi at 2.00am, and to add insult especially if this person is in the early stages of dementia.

This hospital is an absolute disgrace, and so are the urchins at the NHS trust.
Who in their right mind, would let an 85 year old woman, on her own, in a taxi at 2.00am, and to add insult especially if this person is in the early stages of dementia. This hospital is an absolute disgrace, and so are the urchins at the NHS trust. miccles
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Welwyn Dowd says...

The taxi firm must take some responsibility. They should not pick up someone from hospital without first getting a specific destination from the staff if the woman cannot give details. Even worse, they knew she was incapable of giving directions, was inadequately dressed, but still took money for the ride and dumped her on the street. Negligence from the hospital and financial exploitation by the taxi driver and company.
The taxi firm must take some responsibility. They should not pick up someone from hospital without first getting a specific destination from the staff if the woman cannot give details. Even worse, they knew she was incapable of giving directions, was inadequately dressed, but still took money for the ride and dumped her on the street. Negligence from the hospital and financial exploitation by the taxi driver and company. Welwyn Dowd
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Thu 24 Jan 13

rem708 says...

Was the taxi driver CRB checked?

Whilst we associate this with children it it is ALL vulnerable people and the abuse of elderly/mentally impaired which caused the CRB check to come into force.

The hospital should be held accountable 'if' those providing transport do not meet the minimum standards
Was the taxi driver CRB checked? Whilst we associate this with children it it is ALL vulnerable people and the abuse of elderly/mentally impaired which caused the CRB check to come into force. The hospital should be held accountable 'if' those providing transport do not meet the minimum standards rem708
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Thu 24 Jan 13

fair say says...

It's called the Wycombe Care Pathway.
How many people are dying because they are having to travel from Wycombe to Stoke. Then sent home because Stoke can't cope.
It's called the Wycombe Care Pathway. How many people are dying because they are having to travel from Wycombe to Stoke. Then sent home because Stoke can't cope. fair say
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Anon786 says...

THE problem nowerdays is theirs no family values.... the elderly are being shoved in homes and are being expected to be looked after by some one else as "our" lives have become to busy. Its disgusting how many elderly people are left alone to fend for themselves where theyve worked all the lives (and hard too) to bring up their children but when the tables are turned they become a burden! My mothers a carer and no matter the time of day or weather (yes she travelled all day in the snow) she ensures they are looked after. Christmas Day she was out their as children were too busy to visit their parents??? we're so quick to blame others for not doing what we as children should be doing. To blame a taxi driver for not ensuring your mother got in is disgusting....GO CHECK YOURSELF! its just so sad how many elderly people are left alone with no one around....they worked hard to raise us but then they become the burden. Thank God some cultures still value their parents and understand that they looked after us when we couldnt look after ourselves....and we should when they cant!
THE problem nowerdays is theirs no family values.... the elderly are being shoved in homes and are being expected to be looked after by some one else as "our" lives have become to busy. Its disgusting how many elderly people are left alone to fend for themselves where theyve worked all the lives (and hard too) to bring up their children but when the tables are turned they become a burden! My mothers a carer and no matter the time of day or weather (yes she travelled all day in the snow) she ensures they are looked after. Christmas Day she was out their as children were too busy to visit their parents??? we're so quick to blame others for not doing what we as children should be doing. To blame a taxi driver for not ensuring your mother got in is disgusting....GO CHECK YOURSELF! its just so sad how many elderly people are left alone with no one around....they worked hard to raise us but then they become the burden. Thank God some cultures still value their parents and understand that they looked after us when we couldnt look after ourselves....and we should when they cant! Anon786
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Anon786 says...

REM708 - Of course all Taxi Drivers are CRB checked.....if thats your concern from all of this? From all of this your questioning the taxi drivers intentions.....reall
y?????
REM708 - Of course all Taxi Drivers are CRB checked.....if thats your concern from all of this? From all of this your questioning the taxi drivers intentions.....reall y????? Anon786
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Thu 24 Jan 13

J B Blackett says...

Just not good enough. Extremely poor operational , organisational and probably little or non-existent communications skills.
.
Broadcasting via the media just the usual 'lessons to be learnt' utterances of the expectedly anonymous appointed 'spokesperson'.
.
All the signs and symptoms of a remote and not-under-control large inflexible rule-bound organization that is in real need of urgent systemic attention and correction.
.
For everybody's sake. And for the NHS itself.
Just not good enough. Extremely poor operational , organisational and probably little or non-existent communications skills. . Broadcasting via the media just the usual 'lessons to be learnt' utterances of the expectedly anonymous appointed 'spokesperson'. . All the signs and symptoms of a remote and not-under-control large inflexible rule-bound organization that is in real need of urgent systemic attention and correction. . For everybody's sake. And for the NHS itself. J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Thu 24 Jan 13

bequia says...

Par for the course is all I can say regarding this article. I for one, am fast changing my ideals where state run health care is concerned.
Par for the course is all I can say regarding this article. I for one, am fast changing my ideals where state run health care is concerned. bequia
  • Score: 0

6:11pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Julie54 says...

To anon 786
My mother is not a burden to me, I look after her I have taken everyday living out of her hands to stop her worrying, she has lived in sheltered accommodation for 16 yrs and has been forgetting things for the last year, it's the system that doesn't care, my mothers GP's have let he down badly, she ended up in hospital for 3 weeks because they don't diagnose she had a problem, I visited her every day if that 3 weeks, you know nothing about the situation, so get your facts right before slagging someone off , who s desperate to get her the correct help!!!!
To anon 786 My mother is not a burden to me, I look after her I have taken everyday living out of her hands to stop her worrying, she has lived in sheltered accommodation for 16 yrs and has been forgetting things for the last year, it's the system that doesn't care, my mothers GP's have let he down badly, she ended up in hospital for 3 weeks because they don't diagnose she had a problem, I visited her every day if that 3 weeks, you know nothing about the situation, so get your facts right before slagging someone off , who s desperate to get her the correct help!!!! Julie54
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Thu 24 Jan 13

looper says...

Wycombe hosp. 0utstanding. Stoke Mandeville. Joke
Wycombe hosp. 0utstanding. Stoke Mandeville. Joke looper
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Thu 24 Jan 13

cezyboo says...

Just unacceptable. I thought what happened to my dad was bad, but this just takes the biscuit......I'm glad (well hoping) the poor lady doesn't remember what happened, she'd be disgusted. I bet she's seen some things in her life time. Julie, take no notice of the comment about shoving her into a home, very ignorant comment. I just hope they never have to make that decision in their life time. All the best to your mum xx
Just unacceptable. I thought what happened to my dad was bad, but this just takes the biscuit......I'm glad (well hoping) the poor lady doesn't remember what happened, she'd be disgusted. I bet she's seen some things in her life time. Julie, take no notice of the comment about shoving her into a home, very ignorant comment. I just hope they never have to make that decision in their life time. All the best to your mum xx cezyboo
  • Score: 0

8:01pm Thu 24 Jan 13

allrightnow2 says...

anon786, I am struggling to believe the thoughtlessness of your comment. While what you say is sometimes true, i don't think so in this case. My dear grandpa had dementia but wanted to be as independent as possible for as long as possible so sheltered living was the best option. We saw him regularly despite working full time and having children to look after and the considerable driving distance because he was not a burden and we looked forward to seeing him and looking after him when he let us. As people who have experience of dementia will know the signs are more prominent when people are tired / ill - both of which this lady was. Apart from everything else that is wrong with this, I can't understand how the hospital thought it was ok to discharge her and send her outside on a cold night in a hospital gown having lost her clothes.
anon786, I am struggling to believe the thoughtlessness of your comment. While what you say is sometimes true, i don't think so in this case. My dear grandpa had dementia but wanted to be as independent as possible for as long as possible so sheltered living was the best option. We saw him regularly despite working full time and having children to look after and the considerable driving distance because he was not a burden and we looked forward to seeing him and looking after him when he let us. As people who have experience of dementia will know the signs are more prominent when people are tired / ill - both of which this lady was. Apart from everything else that is wrong with this, I can't understand how the hospital thought it was ok to discharge her and send her outside on a cold night in a hospital gown having lost her clothes. allrightnow2
  • Score: 0

8:59pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Anon786 says...

Unfortunately BFP failed to post my commeny where i clearly apologised if my commeny was too much of a generalisation and that it upsets me when i accompany my mother to dementia suffers who cry that they have no one....i did apologise to the daughter as i didt mean to hurt her feelings. again i apologise unfortunate IT glitch on BFPs behalf....
Unfortunately BFP failed to post my commeny where i clearly apologised if my commeny was too much of a generalisation and that it upsets me when i accompany my mother to dementia suffers who cry that they have no one....i did apologise to the daughter as i didt mean to hurt her feelings. again i apologise unfortunate IT glitch on BFPs behalf.... Anon786
  • Score: 0

9:05pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Voyeur says...

No one should be discharged at 2.00 am. Period.
No one should be discharged at 2.00 am. Period. Voyeur
  • Score: 0

9:29pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Julie54 says...

Julie54 wrote:
To anon 786
My mother is not a burden to me, I look after her I have taken everyday living out of her hands to stop her worrying, she has lived in sheltered accommodation for 16 yrs and has been forgetting things for the last year, it's the system that doesn't care, my mothers GP's have let he down badly, she ended up in hospital for 3 weeks because they don't diagnose she had a problem, I visited her every day if that 3 weeks, you know nothing about the situation, so get your facts right before slagging someone off , who s desperate to get her the correct help!!!!
I'd like to thank everyone for their kind remarks, well all but one anyway!! Mum had lived in her flat with my father by their own choice he died back in 2003, and she has remained very independant , until last year when all this started , but as I said earlier the system fails the elderly , trying to get her some extra support is very hard, but with our help and the warden she is able to manage, which is the way she WANTS it thx again
[quote][p][bold]Julie54[/bold] wrote: To anon 786 My mother is not a burden to me, I look after her I have taken everyday living out of her hands to stop her worrying, she has lived in sheltered accommodation for 16 yrs and has been forgetting things for the last year, it's the system that doesn't care, my mothers GP's have let he down badly, she ended up in hospital for 3 weeks because they don't diagnose she had a problem, I visited her every day if that 3 weeks, you know nothing about the situation, so get your facts right before slagging someone off , who s desperate to get her the correct help!!!![/p][/quote]I'd like to thank everyone for their kind remarks, well all but one anyway!! Mum had lived in her flat with my father by their own choice he died back in 2003, and she has remained very independant , until last year when all this started , but as I said earlier the system fails the elderly , trying to get her some extra support is very hard, but with our help and the warden she is able to manage, which is the way she WANTS it thx again Julie54
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Honey33 says...

Hospital staff is responsible for the welfare of the patients. Then discharging an elderly lady at such late time, with a taxi driver who had no idea of her address is just scandalous. We were fearful of such incidents when services were re-located to SMH. While fat cats are sitting on their comfy chairs, things will go from bad to worse and they don’t care what’s happening around them. That’s the sad state of our treasured NHS. I’m just lost for words to express my anger.
Hospital staff is responsible for the welfare of the patients. Then discharging an elderly lady at such late time, with a taxi driver who had no idea of her address is just scandalous. We were fearful of such incidents when services were re-located to SMH. While fat cats are sitting on their comfy chairs, things will go from bad to worse and they don’t care what’s happening around them. That’s the sad state of our treasured NHS. I’m just lost for words to express my anger. Honey33
  • Score: 0

10:25pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Honey33 says...

Aron786:
Your sweeping generalisations are insensitive so please keep your thoughts to yourself.
Aron786: Your sweeping generalisations are insensitive so please keep your thoughts to yourself. Honey33
  • Score: 0

8:15am Fri 25 Jan 13

cowleywebley says...

I was discharged at 9.30am and had to wait until 9.30pm for ambulance to take me home but ended up being transported by taxi arriving home at 10.30pm, I couldn't walk as I had a leg operation & was left sitting on a cold step in the garden Stoke Mandeville needs new management.
I was discharged at 9.30am and had to wait until 9.30pm for ambulance to take me home but ended up being transported by taxi arriving home at 10.30pm, I couldn't walk as I had a leg operation & was left sitting on a cold step in the garden Stoke Mandeville needs new management. cowleywebley
  • Score: 0

2:14pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Jade12 says...

Disgusting! She would have been scared and confused. Really pour standards!
Disgusting! She would have been scared and confused. Really pour standards! Jade12
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Fri 25 Jan 13

J B Blackett says...

cowleywebley wrote:
I was discharged at 9.30am and had to wait until 9.30pm for ambulance to take me home but ended up being transported by taxi arriving home at 10.30pm, I couldn't walk as I had a leg operation & was left sitting on a cold step in the garden Stoke Mandeville needs new management.
That sort of thing happens when there are extremely poor operational , organisational and probably little or non-existent communications skills in place.
.
Nobody does this deliberately ( at least I hope not) but it all points to an organisation that is badly managed and monitored. Any system will fail under those circumstances.
.
And then we get the inevitable buck-passing and 'lessons to be learned' speeches. From a 'spokesperson' !!! Now that's a position that should not be needed in an open honest well-run outfit.
[quote][p][bold]cowleywebley[/bold] wrote: I was discharged at 9.30am and had to wait until 9.30pm for ambulance to take me home but ended up being transported by taxi arriving home at 10.30pm, I couldn't walk as I had a leg operation & was left sitting on a cold step in the garden Stoke Mandeville needs new management.[/p][/quote]That sort of thing happens when there are extremely poor operational , organisational and probably little or non-existent communications skills in place. . Nobody does this deliberately ( at least I hope not) but it all points to an organisation that is badly managed and monitored. Any system will fail under those circumstances. . And then we get the inevitable buck-passing and 'lessons to be learned' speeches. From a 'spokesperson' !!! Now that's a position that should not be needed in an open honest well-run outfit. J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

3:28pm Fri 25 Jan 13

OneArmJack says...

Julie Smith should make sure that the code for the key safe is changed now that the taxi driver and dispatcher know it.
Julie Smith should make sure that the code for the key safe is changed now that the taxi driver and dispatcher know it. OneArmJack
  • Score: 0

5:19pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Jennifer45 says...

This is awful and I feel so sorry for the lady mrs smiths mother. It's not always bad though - my Dad was in wycombe hospital recently and he has really bad dementia. They looked after him really well and let me and my mum visit whenever we wanted. I used to drop my mum off every day and then collect her a couple of hours later and they would always make sure she'd been given a cup of tea and a cake when my dad got his.
This is awful and I feel so sorry for the lady mrs smiths mother. It's not always bad though - my Dad was in wycombe hospital recently and he has really bad dementia. They looked after him really well and let me and my mum visit whenever we wanted. I used to drop my mum off every day and then collect her a couple of hours later and they would always make sure she'd been given a cup of tea and a cake when my dad got his. Jennifer45
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Fri 25 Jan 13

J B Blackett says...

Jennifer45 wrote:
This is awful and I feel so sorry for the lady mrs smiths mother. It's not always bad though - my Dad was in wycombe hospital recently and he has really bad dementia. They looked after him really well and let me and my mum visit whenever we wanted. I used to drop my mum off every day and then collect her a couple of hours later and they would always make sure she'd been given a cup of tea and a cake when my dad got his.
Well that could be the difference between a local hospital and a remote 'super-hospital' where the staff are so super-efficient. (according to the Bracknell MP) that they haven't got time for that sort of consideration for patients or visitors.
.
That's what the MP meant to say . He's not got a lot of experience of full-time working in a hospital - he is in fact part-time GP.. I wonder if he's any good at that , as he is c**p at PR and being a part-time politician
[quote][p][bold]Jennifer45[/bold] wrote: This is awful and I feel so sorry for the lady mrs smiths mother. It's not always bad though - my Dad was in wycombe hospital recently and he has really bad dementia. They looked after him really well and let me and my mum visit whenever we wanted. I used to drop my mum off every day and then collect her a couple of hours later and they would always make sure she'd been given a cup of tea and a cake when my dad got his.[/p][/quote]Well that could be the difference between a local hospital and a remote 'super-hospital' where the staff are so super-efficient. (according to the Bracknell MP) that they haven't got time for that sort of consideration for patients or visitors. . That's what the MP meant to say . He's not got a lot of experience of full-time working in a hospital - he is in fact part-time GP.. I wonder if he's any good at that , as he is c**p at PR and being a part-time politician J B Blackett
  • Score: 0

9:50pm Fri 25 Jan 13

kungfuwarrior says...

This is just awful. It is clear that Stoke can't cope. We need services back here! What can we do?
This is just awful. It is clear that Stoke can't cope. We need services back here! What can we do? kungfuwarrior
  • Score: 0

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