Widower with no home refused to leave hospital, inquest hears

Desperate homeless patient, 35, died in subway near Airedale Hospital

Desperate homeless patient, 35, died in subway near Airedale Hospital

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

A homeless man desperate to be re-admitted to hospital died after he overdosed on his dischargemedication, an inquest was told yesterday.
Only a few hours earlier, Mark Hurley, 35, had refused to leave a ward at Airedale General Hospital and had been escorted off by
security guards.
When he was found dead on October 1 last year in a subway near the Steeton hospital, a large number of his 14-day supply of painkillers and anti-sickness tablets looked to have been taken, the hearing in Bradford was told.
Mr Hurley, who gave the hospital a false name and address, had been admitted with stomach pains but when doctors deemed him fit five days later he refused to go.
Staff nurse Tracey Jessop said she had to tell him at the end of her shift “it wasn’t a hotel” after he hung about in the dayroom.
Next morning she discovered he was still on Ward 15 and acting
strangely, repeatedly washing with alcohol gel and putting on
nightgowns and rubber gloves.
A mental-health assessment  found him to be just “eccentric”, with no intentions of killing himself. Mr Hurley said he had come over to England from Ireland to find closure after his wife was killed by a drink driver.
Staff arranged for him to go to the Salvation Army in Keighley. Nurses gave him his bus fare, a pint of milk, some food and shoes to replace his old ones.
But he “was still messing about”, said Nurse Jessop, who had to call security to escort him out.
Mental-health nurse Jim Wilson said he believed the death had not been a suicide attempt but an “error of judgement”.
“He went to a public place where people would pass. My interpretation was that he did not want to leave hospital and wanted to be taken back. But no one found him. No one reported him until it was too late,” he said.
Mr Wilson said someone may have seen him earlier but stepped over him, assuming he was from The Priory, a private institution not far from the subway.
Dr John O’Dowd, Airedale Hospital’s interim deputy director for quality and safety, said an inquiry revealed Mr Hurley had been admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary the previous July with  stomach problems and had been reluctant to leave.
He said the case highlighted the need for hospitals to share information and said patients with appointments to help find shelter for the night were now offered a taxi from Airedale wards.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, Assistant Bradford Coroner Dr Dominic Bell said he was satisfied with the hospital’s care of Mr Hurley and his decision to give false information meant his death was “not reasonably foreseeable.”

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