"Being left alone with a confused mind"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as the patient),

I had overdosed. and not thinking clearly. I got dressed with cannula still in, phoned a taxi from reception phone to take me back to where im from as I couldn't find my phone.

I wasn't able to think clearly and in taxi on the way back it came to me I had no car keys. The taxi took me back to Surrey hospital, where the nurses said they wondered where I had gone. I still don't know what date it was that happened. I think I could have wondered off without a clue what I was doing or where I was going.

As it happened I still didn't but at least was thinking even though not clearly. No one in reception either commented, even though I had a cannula in and a bandage on other arm.

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Responses

Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear Poll mc

Thank you for alerting us to this. It must have been a frightening experience and I would really like to look into the circumstances in detail if you feel able to let me know more details. If you would like to do so please email me at ben.mearns@sash.nhs.uk and I will be happy to help.

I do hope that you are now well and apologize for letting you down.

Kindest regards

Dr Ben Mearns

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Update posted by Polly mc (the patient)

Thank you. I will email you.

Response from Ben Mearns, Chief of Medicine, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ben Mearns

Dear Polly mc

Thanks for getting in touch.

I have managed to review your clinical records from your admission and it is very interesting. As you say the notes suggest that the team felt that you were thinking clearly and have made no mention of any concern about your trip out of the hospital. I am surpised that they haven’t written more and as you say you potentially could have come to harm which needs to be recognised by the team. I also note that they have not specifically recorded an assessment of your mental state on your return and I would expect that they would do so.

I will ensure that we review our procedures to identify a “missing” patient, in particular for those who are high risk of harm. I will also feedback to the team about your specific case and we will amend our guidance for our staff.

I am very grateful to you for highlighting this to me as we clearly did not fully understand your needs that day and I apologize for letting you down. Your feedback will certainly improve the care that we provide going forward.

Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your experience and I do hope that if you need us again that we do better.

Kindest regards

Dr Ben Mearns

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