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Blind man was ‘lost’ on wards
PATIENT campaigners say lessons must be learned at Dorset County Hospital after a blind patient went missing for more than five hours. David Wrighton, 75, a former paratrooper from Bridport sparked a police search after he was reported missing at around 6pm on Saturday.
He was not found until after 11pm – but the hospital has not explained why he was lost for so long.
The hospital issued this statement: “If a patient goes missing we have procedures in place to launch an immediate search.
“The police were contacted on this occasion to ensure that Mr Wrighton was found as quickly as possible.
“We are pleased that Mr Wrighton was found safe and well in another part of the hospital.
“The safety of our patients is our highest priority and we are investigating this inci-dent to see if anything could be done differ-ently in future.”
Patients on the hospital’s elderly care wards, who are known to wander, carry wanderer alarms to keep them safe but Mr Wrighton was not on an elderly care ward.
Jonathan Holyhead, chief exec-utive of the Dorset Bind Association, said: “I don’t know the full circum-stances of Mr. Wrighton’s case but on the face of it something has clearly gone wrong here.
“I only hope that the hospital management takes this very seriously, investigates the matter fully and learns any appropriate lessons.
“People with serious sight loss are already vulnerable and will be even more so when needing hospital treatment. We need to be confident they will be properly looked after.”
And hospital campaigner Derek Julian said: “The care of patients should be the number one priority of the NHS and obviously something is wrong when something like this happens.
“How can someone disappear for five hours? Questions need to be asked but it is a good hospital and I am pretty sure they will have an inquiry, particularly because of his loss of sight.
“Hopefully it will not happen again. Lessons must be learned.”
Janet Warburton, Bridport Area 50-plus Forum spokesman on health matters said it was concerning that a patient could be missing for so long.
She said: “It should be taken very seriously.”
Mr Wrighton, who is an active and popular member of the Bridport Gig Club, has been blind since he was 20, was wearing a red dressing gown and creamy coloured Ugg slippers and was carrying a white stick when he went missing.
He was found just after 11pm within the hospital complex in Williams Avenue.
The former soldier lost his sight after a head injury sustained while serving in Malaysia.
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