Pensioner angry at hospital blunder

ANGRY: Arthur and Vera Briggs angry at Mr Briggs being discharged from Desbury and District Hospital without warning. (d21031105)
ANGRY: Arthur and Vera Briggs angry at Mr Briggs being discharged from Desbury and District Hospital without warning. (d21031105)

AN angry pensioner is demanding answers after her invalid husband was brought home from hospital unannounced late one bitterly cold night.

Vera Briggs, 79, was unnerved by the late arrival and had to call out a carer to help put her seriously ill husband to bed.

Mrs Briggs now wants to know why Dewsbury and District Hospital didn’t check she would be at home before discharging her 81-year-old husband, Arthur.

“How can they treat people like that,” said Mrs Briggs, of Stocks Bank Road. “I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Problems arose after Mr Briggs was taken to hospital last Tuesday morning. Mrs Briggs usually goes with him, but she had been unwell herself and, for once, stayed behind.

During the day, she took three calls from the hospital tests were being done and staff would be back in touch. Then a nurse called Mrs Briggs to say Mr Briggs would be kept in overnight.

So Mrs Briggs went out for tea and returned home at 9.10pm. At 10.10pm there was a knock at the door, it was ambulance staff bringing Mr Briggs home.

“Bringing an old man home at 10.10pm is beyond me,” said Mrs Briggs. “No-one told me they were doing that.”

The couple’s daughter-in-law, Shirley, complained to a line manager at the hospital and was told, ‘this should not have happened’.

“It’s lucky I didn’t have a heart attack,” said Mrs Briggs.” The dog was barking and I was trembling to hear a knock at the door at that time of night.”

Mrs Briggs says no discharge letter was issued.

“He won’t go to hospital without me again. This has really upset me,” she said.

Mr Briggs has suffered a series of strokes, his right arm is paralysed, his legs don’t function and he does not have much speech.

The couple got no explanation for what happened. “The hospital should have done what they said they were going to do, that is keep him in,” said Mrs Briggs. “They must have rung me during the evening and they should have kept ringing until I answered, to make sure I was was going to be at home.

“Arthur should never have been sent out in those circumstances. Why didn’t they check his records?”

The couple, who have been married for 57 years, have lived in Mirfield for more than 40 years. Mr Briggs used to be a gardener at the Community of the Resurrection.

Tracey McErlain-Burns, chief nurse and director of patient experience at the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am concerned to hear that Mr Briggs was discharged home without prior notification to his wife. I must also apologise for the absence of any form of discharge communication.

“I have arranged for Mr Briggs’s records to be reviewed and we have contacted Mrs Briggs and arranged a meeting.”