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'Hospital discharged me at 2am and told me to walk 23 miles'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

ANGRY: Peter Rees, 62, and his partner Annie Brown

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A 62-YEAR-OLD hospital patient was discharged in the middle of the night and claims he was told he would have to walk 23 miles home.

Peter Rees was admitted to the accident and emergency unit by ambulance after suffering from breathing difficulties.

Doctors diagnosed a chest infection, prescribed strong antibiotics and told him he could go home at 2am.

Father-of-three Peter asked for help with transport because he had arrived in hospital without his wallet due to his emergency admission.

He said he explained he lived 23 miles away and there was no-one at home able to collect him. But he claimed he was told to leave the hospital at 2am on New Year's Day.

Peter set off on foot and walked 12 miles before he was given a lift by a passing police car — arriving home at 6.30am.

He said: "It was dreadful — the most horrible night of my life. I had dark clothing on, I was feeling most unwell and I had to walk on unlit roads on one of the most dangerous nights of the year."

Peter, who spent a week in bed, has made an official complaint to Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen, which he claimed sent him packing.

Peter was at home in the village of Llanwrda, near Llandeilo, on December 31 when he was hit by a bout of uncontrollable coughing and shortness of breath.

He was examined by a paramedic at home who called for an ambulance to admit him to hospital. But after X-rays, blood tests and an examination he was told he could go home.

Peter said: "They told me I had a chest infection and released me with a course of strong antibiotics."

Peter, who has worked in the film and advertising industry, trudged for 10 miles in the pitch dark before a passing police car stopped him.

He said: "The officers urged me not to walk any further because it was too dangerous, but I had no choice.

"I was literally clinging on to bramble bushes as I edged along the hedgerow in the face of oncoming traffic. I was shattered, freezing, I felt giddy and I lost my footing more than once."

Peter walked a further two miles before a second police car picked him up and drove him home. Mr Rees, who lives with his partner Annie, has instructed solicitors to sue the hospital for allegedly failing in their duty of care.

A spokesman for Hywel Dda Health Board, which runs the hospital, said: "We regret to hear about the situation Mr Rees found himself in on New Year's Day. The board has now received a formal complaint and, as the investigation is ongoing.

"We cannot comment further at this time.

"We'd like to reassure the public that there are a range of transport schemes in place, or being piloted, for patients who require assistance with non-emergency transportation."

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  • marcuswrose  |  January 20 2013, 5:18PM

    Centralisation has changed things dramatically, So people who used to travel 2-3 miles now travel 20 - 30 miles or even more for emergency treatment. unless you live in South Wales where 12 miles is near the maximum for emergency. Having an appointment for routine treatment is a different matter and that is something you can plan for. This man had third world hospital treatment due to callous political decisions focusing on the wrong priorities. Getting bigger and further away does not save money. nor wasting multi millions on highly paid management.

  • martinfftfach  |  January 12 2013, 8:39AM

    This is ridiculous of course the hospital should treat this man medically then give him a lift home, tuck him in. Ensure his room temp is sufficiently warm, make sure he has a nice warm cup of hot chocolate and stay until he doses off. Actually I had a doctors appointment the other day which i was unable to get to due to no fuel in my car, its disgusting that the NHS wont send a doctor out to re-fuel my car allowing me to get to the surgery.

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  • mahatmacoat  |  January 12 2013, 7:16AM

    Following on from the Beveridge report Nye Bevan gave us the basis of the NHS we have today. It was brought in to give medical care when needed at no cost. Of course he had to "Stuff the Dr's mouths with gold" to get the BMA to agree but it wasn't founded as a taxi service. The NHS isn't perfect but then what is ?. The hospital provided him with free state of the art care how fare does this man think that care should extend ?.

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  • j4cka  |  January 11 2013, 10:05PM

    Sue the hospital for duty of care? How about suing your own family instead? What a pathetic man no wonder he looks such a mess!!

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  • BobDavies2  |  January 11 2013, 10:01PM

    Sorry Mr Rees I can't see what your argument is, the fact you were hanging onto hedgerows etc is nothing other than a nonessential load of rubbish, ok you didn't have your wallet, so what would anyone in that situation do? Get a taxi and pay when you arrive home, the NHS surprisingly isn't a taxi service. No sympathy vote here mate!

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  • marcuswrose  |  January 11 2013, 9:00PM

    If you have no car, and your income is so low. To hire a taxi is out of the question. A man taken into Glangwili from Llanelli was discharged in the same way about 2 weeks ago and had to spend his weeks pension on a taxi to take him home. If you think that is the way to treat human beings then it is only through court cases that we will pump some sense into Hywel Dda Health Board.

  • marcuswrose  |  January 11 2013, 8:52PM

    I think most of the comments above must be from hospital management staff. Surely a person having difficulty in breathing and diagnosed as having a chest infection should be treated far more civilly than this man was. His local A&E hospital is 23 miles away from his home. He should have been directed to a room where he could stay the night. If this happened to an animal much greater care would have been taken. There are so many of these cases coming to light now that one wonders how long the NHS can last. If we can afford £13,00000 a year on Hywel Dda managers we can treat patients humanely.

  • Rosemary1959  |  January 11 2013, 8:46PM

    Maxim - a doctor is quite capable of diagnosing a chest infection but you need blood tests to rule out a heart attack or angina attack - I know why? Because I live with someone who has suffered all three. I question a) why did his loving partner leave him go to hospital on his own? b) why did he not wait till his loving partner came for him? c) Why not humble himself and ask anyone of the other casualties or their family for the price of a phone call to his loving partner or family? Peter if you are reading this, would you have let one of your family walk home in such a state? Would you not have been guilt ridden that you were not there for them? Why were your family not there for you?

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  • muld00ns  |  January 11 2013, 7:59PM

    Maxim - Ummm are you a doctor? I think the ones in A&E know a bit more than us and wouldn't have done those tests if at that time they thought it was necessary. Plus, this bloke didn't call the ambulance it was the paramedic

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  • cresswell1  |  January 11 2013, 7:45PM

    a no news story again from the EP

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