Why was Michael left to wander streets?
A GRANDFATHER discharged from the Royal Bolton Hospital at 3.30am was found lost and freezing in Farnworth an hour later by police.
Michael Atkinson, aged 64, who is taking morphine and is confused, was found without his coat in sub-zero temperatures near Farnworth Cricket Club — which is more than half-a-mile from the hospital — at 4.30am on Wednesday, March 6.
He had hurt himself after he fell while he was lost and has been left “very distressed” by his ordeal.
Mr Atkinson was wearing a hospital wristband when he was found, but it had the name and details of a two-year-old girl and not his information.
Hospital bosses have launched a “full review” into what happened.
Now his wife, Helen, who had been told her husband was being admitted to the hospital for a brain scan following a stroke, is calling for action to be taken against the hospital for “negligence”.
Mrs Atkinson, from Breightmet, said: “When the police brought him back, he was in a terrible state. I was distraught and he was crying. He was like a bag of ice. It has made him worse.
“Something is very wrong at that hospital. You don’t discharge a man in his state at 3.30am in the morning.”
Mr Atkinson suffered a stroke in 2005 and has been taking morphine for a slipped disc that has trapped a nerve.
He suffers from emphysema and lung disease and has had pneumonia three times.
Mrs Atkinson said her husband had been due to be collected by an ambulance for a brain scan, following a possible second stroke, between 3.30pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday, March 5.
But an ambulance did not arrive at the couple’s home until 11.40pm that night.
Mrs Atkinson said the ambulance staff did not know why they were collecting her husband and, when at the hospital, no scan was carried out.
After her husband was brought home by police at 4.30am the next morning, the 64-year-old said she was “livid”.
He was found without his coat, which had been a Christmas present, and was missing his medication.
Mrs Atkinson believes if he had not been found he could have got hypothermia and died.
She called the hospital to find out why she had not been contacted to collect him and said she was told they “couldn’t find my number in his notes” and that her husband could not remember his phone number.
Mr Atkinson was re-admitted to the Royal Bolton Hospital for treatment, but has since been discharged and is back at the couple’s home.
His wife has complained to the hospital and has contacted solicitors.
She said: “I am so upset that my poor husband has suffered for so long unnecessarily. It is disgusting.
“Every time I walked in there to go and see him I took notes because I don’t trust them.”
Heather Edwards, head of communications at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are aware of Mrs Atkinson’s concerns and a full review is taking place to understand exactly what happened.”
Earlier this week The Bolton News reported that 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.
And a 90-year-old man, who was reported missing from the hospital at 10am on March 2, was discovered in Bristol, 175 miles away.
Last year hospitals were told to end the “obviously unacceptable” practice of sending elderly or vulnerable patients home in the middle of the night.
Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS, ordered an urgent review of how the service is discharging hundreds of thousands of patients amid concerns some are being left to fend for themselves.
His intervention came after The Times newspaper obtained figures showing 293,000 patients at 100 hospital trusts had been sent home between 11pm and 6am in 2011.