Hospital apologises over OAP care


AN elderly fall victim was sent home from hospital in the depth of winter wearing only a shirt, trousers, dressing gown and one slipper.

David Spelman, 85, fell again within days of being discharged from the Southern General, Glasgow, and died shortly afterwards.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board has been ordered to apologise to the dead OAP’s family and to review their procedures for treating the elderly.

The patient was discharged from the Southern General  Photo:wfmillar

The shocking incident has been revealed in a report by Jim Martin, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

He upheld all four complaints from the family of the OAP, who was admitted to the hospital after a fall on February 10, 2011

The pensioner had hip replacement surgery two days later and was sent home on February 24.

Mr Martin’s report said the family complained that the OAP was not properly dressed when he was discharged.

The dead man’s son stated that his father “was dressed in  outdoor trousers, one slipper, a polo shirt and a dressing gown and was extremely cold”.

“The bandage on his foot had become loose and wet due to walking outside,” added the report.

But the patient could have been properly dressed had staff properly checked his belongings.

The report reveals that a paramedic handed the son his father’s suitcase “which contained his outdoor jacket, a hat, jumper and outdoor shoes”.

Mr Martin stated: “I find that this was an unfortunate incident which could well have been avoided if staff had taken the time to check through Mr A’s belongings properly and dress him suitably for the winter weather.”

He added: “It was not acceptable that an elderly and frail man was discharged from the Hospital dressed in this manner.”

The family also complained that the OAP’s condition deteriorated after he was discharged.

They claimed the decision to release him could have been harmful and his second fall could have been prevented had his “needs been properly considered”.

According to Mr Martin, the family were concerned that “staff responsible for caring for Mr A had not taken full regard of his short-term memory loss”.

The patient also suffered from poor balance and could not use the Zimmer frame he was given following the operation, said the family.

Next of kin also said they had not been consulted in relation to decisions about the care and treatment of the pensioner.

The son “felt the deterioration of his father could be due  at least in part to the decision to discharge him from Hospital on 24 February 2011”.

Mr Martin concluded that the health board did not “reasonably consider” whether the patient should have been released.

The OAP suffered another fall at his home on February 26, two days after being discharged, and was readmitted to the Southern General the same day.

The second fall re-opened his surgery wound and scans showed bleeding on his brain.

He died on March 19. Mr Martin’s report did not investigate whether his death was linked to the circumstances of his discharge from hospital.



Speaking in a television interview this evening, Mr Spelman’s son, who is also called David, said: “If they had just listened to me then he wouldn’t have been in the condition he was in.”
David said he was there to greet his father as the 85-year old returned to his house in Muirdykes Avenue, Glasgow: “When he came to
the door he was absolutely freezing. He had a dressing gown, polo shirt, paper trousers and a slipper on.”

He added: “When he came home he didn’t know how to use the Zimmer, he had forgotten how to use it.”

Describing his father, who lived alone, he said: “For his age he was really active, he was quite happy doing his own thing.”