About: Charing Cross Hospital Charing Cross Hospital London W6 8RF
I came to visit a friend who was in short stay ward as he had been beaten up by 4 guys and sustained leg injuries and a broken ankle. Earlier the same day he had been discharged from a mental health unit because he had been suicidal. He is also an addict. I was therefore shocked to see at least 4 boxes full of tablets medications just lying on his bedside table. When I asked him about it, he said the nurse put it there as it was his to take home and he could take them whenever he wanted. However, this was the day before he was discharged home and the nurses were already giving him medication at allotted times, so he could have easily overdosed. There were at least 80 tablets of codeine phosphate and 32 paracetamol tablets lying on his bedside table. I was visiting him for at least 8 hours and during that time not one of the nurses questioned it, even though they could see it while they were there giving him IV medications. Even if the tablets had not been a risk to him, they could have been a serious risk to a child visiting another patient in the shared ward. When I left the ward in the late evening I said surely it was a risk to leave it there overnight and I was advised by a doctor on the ward to remove it from him, so why had the nurses not done this earlier in the day? Surely they could have locked this medication in a cupboard somewhere until the following day when he was discharged. I also noticed a general waste bin right next to the bottom of his bed, but it was far to close to his bed and surely it could have been a source of infection being so close to his bedclothes, etc? The following day (a sunday) his consultant said he was discharging him to the streets. I questioned this since I thought it was illegal for a hospital to discharge a person onto the streets if they have no where to go, they have a broken leg and they cannot walk? 2 weeks after his discharge from charing cross hospital he had a CT scan which showed he had another 3 breaks in his leg - how do you expect a person to manage and care for himself with 3-4 breaks in his leg with a non-weight bearing plaster which he is not to get wet, if he is living on the streets? In the end he returned to my address with me but it is not suitable accommodation for someone with a broken leg as it is up 2 floors with no lift and has 16 stairs to climb up. Is it legal to discharge a person to the streets in such a vulnerable condition? It was because of his vulnerablity that he was beaten up in the first place, hence his admission to A&E, so why would anyone want to put him out there again? It is worrying that a hospital would discharged someone so vulnerable to the streets. I know the NHS cannot house everyone, but why they could have waited until a weekday to discharge him as then he could have got help from housing services but to discharge him on a Sunday was thoughtless and cruel.