At risk patient escapes from hospital ward

Royal Lancaster Infirmary
Royal Lancaster Infirmary

A Good Samaritan who stopped to help a vulnerable patient in the middle of the road who had escaped from a hospital ward says something needs to be done to stop someone getting killed or injured.

Mum Ruth Schofield, 43, from Greaves, who is a full-time carer for her daughter Annabel Hunter who has autism and ADHD, jumped to the woman’s aid after seeing her in the middle of busy traffic with no-one stopping to help.

Ruth Schofield with daughter Annabel.

Ruth Schofield with daughter Annabel.

She said: “I’d just been to see my daughter’s paediatrician at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary when we saw a lady in the middle of South Road near the hospital, with no shoes, just socks, in her pyjamas and dressing gown with a zimmer frame.

“She was distressed and didn’t look well. No-one was stopping. That could have been someone’s mother or daughter and she could have been killed.She was crying and physically shaking. Two ladies had a wheelchair in their car so I ran across to ask for help.

“I just didn’t want to leave her. We got her into the wheelchair and she was crying and making no sense. I lifted her band up to find her name and we found her on one of the wards.The staff took me to her room. I was really upset and angry.” Ruth said when she spoke to staff she was told it was the second time the woman had gone out of the ward that day and she was quite capable of telling people who she was.Ruth said the staff told her that they no longer had security guards for people with violent tendencies or dementia due to cutbacks.

She said: “They (the staff) can’t force her to stay but when people are ill there should be some safeguarding.

“I couldn’t walk past her on the road that vulnerable but other people did. I’m just glad that I took the time and effort to keep her safe.

“It wasn’t the first time and they should have something in place to protect people’s wellbeing.”

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Ensuring that our patients are safe and well whilst in our hospitals is extremely important.

“We’d like to thank the lady who kindly escorted the patient to the ward.

“I met withthe ward manager and some of the staff on Saturday and am aware that they were very upset about what happened.

“If the patient or her family or the lady who escorted the patient back to the ward would like to talk to us further about this, we would be happy to meet with them.”