THE distraught family of a pensioner who went missing from a Swansea hospital claimed the first staff knew he had gone was when they phoned the ward.
Edward Lewis is said to have climbed out of his bed, changed his clothes and headed out of the city's Morriston Hospital attached to his heart monitor.
The 72-year-old, from Hogarth Place, Port Talbot, got on a bus and ended up in Llansamlet. He became confused as to where he was and tried selling his watch to people at Tesco petrol station in a bid to get home.
An Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board spokeswoman apologised to both Mr Lewis and his family and pledged they were investigating the matter.
His carer Kelly Morris, 35, of Lake Road in Port Talbot, said the family only found out he had disappeared from ward S at Morriston Hospital when they were alerted by a kind-hearted couple.
She claimed the family had to tell the hospital Mr Lewis had gone although the health board says his disappearance had been noticed.
Mrs Morris said: "He put on his clothes and walked out of the hospital and caught the bus as far as it could take him to Llansamlet.
"He walked around there for around an hour as for a long time he didn't know where he was.
"He was asking people to buy his watch at Tesco garage as he was trying to sell it to get home.
"A couple spotted him trying to get across the dual carriageway. They called us as our phone number is in his wallet."
She added: "They said they would take him to Briton Ferry and we met him there.
"The hospital staff hadn't notified us that he had gone missing."
She claimed her grandfather, who suffers from dementia and also has a low heart rate, had disappeared the night before.
She claimed he was located and locked in a dark room, although this was denied by the health board.
Mrs Morris said: "They phoned my mum, who is disabled and has a bad heart, at 6am. She was traumatised.
"He wonders off all the time because of his memory tablets and his heart rate is 52.
"It's meant to be 62 and when he left the hospital on Monday he even left with his heart monitor on."
Mrs Morris claims when she went to collect his items from ward S and he was transferred to Gower Ward. The staff didn't say they were sorry.
She said the only person to apologise about the situation was the head of nursing.
"He was moved to Gower Ward as he wasn't happy on Ward S," she said.
"No-one apologised to me when I went to get his stuff."
Mrs Morris said the 72-year-old had become increasingly agitated because of visiting time restrictions.
Previously his family had been allowed to spend hours at his bedside.
Mr Lewis has been at Morriston Hospital since Friday of last week as he had taken too many of the tablets he takes for his dementia.
An Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board spokeswoman said: "The health board and staff on the ward offer their sincere apologies to the patient and his family. We are currently in the process of investigating what happened.
"Patients are checked on an hourly basis and it was at one of these checks it was noticed the patient was missing.
"All staff and security were immediately informed and began looking for the patient. "Staff were in the process of alerting the family when the family themselves phoned within a short time of the patient being discovered missing.
"As there are no dark rooms on the ward we are perplexed by the suggestion a patient of our ward was locked in one by security staff.
"If the family would like to provide us with further information we will certainly investigate the matter."