A 94-year-old man discharged alone at 1am and an 80-year-old man sent home wearing just pyjamas, who died several hours later, are two examples of worrying night-time discharges on a patients’ feedback website.
A whistleblower, describing herself as a “staff member”, wrote about three cases of elderly patients being sent home “in the middle of the night” from the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
Writing on the Patient Opinion website, where patients and medical staff write about good and bad experiences, the woman wrote: “(1) An 82-year-old lady fell and broke her wrist, she was taken to A&E and it was x-rayed and set in a pot.
“The lady was sent home at 3am to her flat where she lived alone. The lady had no relatives and was expected to manage all alone with no care.
“(2) A 94-year-old gentleman was sent home from hospital at 1am after being taken in earlier by ambulance with breathing problems, on arrival back at his flat it became clear that he could not get out of car without his wheelchair, that was locked in his flat on the 10th floor.
“The taxi driver refused to go and get it and a support officer from the building had to be called out.
“(3) An 80-year-old gentleman was sent home in the early hours of the morning after suffering chest pains.
“The staff of A&E felt it was appropriate to give the gentleman morphine and put him in a taxi with just a thin pair of pyjamas.
“The gentleman died several hours later of a heart attack.”
One patient in the Isle of Wight wrote that he was treated well in hospital but criticised the discharge procedure in which he was sent home barefoot.
“After a period of observation while my condition stabilised I was told I was fit for discharge at 4.30am,” he wrote.
“I was barefoot in my night clothes and had no money, having been brought in by ambulance.
“The buses weren’t running and I eventually had to go home by taxi and pay a £40 fare as I live in West Wight.
“I think more consideration could be made to discharging people in the middle of the night who have no transport and are not clothed appropriately as it was very undignified.”
Angie Smithson, director of operations for the trust overseeing the hospital, said: “This report is based on someone claiming to be a member of staff posting on the internet 16 months ago.
“We have extremely robust discharge policies and will only discharge at night when it is safe to do so.”