"The disappearing patient!!"

About: Kent & Canterbury Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

I was a patient in Harvey ward for nearly 3 months. ALL staff including Domestic staff were wonderful and enjoyed a good laugh, which helped with recovery.

On April fools day, feeling reasonably well I woke at 07. 15. my curtains were closed so I crept out of bed, sat on a footstool between my bed and the next and pulled the overhanging curtain round me, completely hiding me. A few mins later, jackie the domestic brought the fresh water jugs round and found my bed empty. She asked the staff if they had seen me ( To which one replied that I was in bed just minutes ago) They proceeded to search the ward, toilets, shower room even under my bed and the garden and corridor out of the ward. ( There are alarms on the door from the bay and exit from the ward is by access card held only by staff - so NO WAY could I have left the ward. ) One even pointed out that I was unable to walk without assistance and my wheelchair, frame and walking stick were still by my bed. After a few minutes when they had left the bay to look, heavens know where. I crept out and got back into bed! Seconds later, Julie appeared and said "Where have you been? " I feigned all innocence saying I had been asleep. The other staff then arrived and INSISTED I had been missing from my bed! ! I was also just as insistent that I had not moved all night and that they were seeing - or not seeing - things.

After a few seconds of this I casually asked "What`s todays` date? " A slightly annoyed voiced said " Oh, 1st April - why? " I sat up and said " GOTCHA! ! " At that point I thought I would be shortly visiting the casualty dept! but then they all laughed so much I thought they would wet themselves. Job done!

They left to go home after night shift chuckling away. For days after, they all gave me pretend dirty looks and then smiled and chuckled.

No one was hurt or inconvenienced ( apart from them checking the garden) and we all had a good laugh.

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Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for telling us your story and bringing a smile to my face - good to hear that you have retained your sense of humour whilst in hospital. We must be doing something right?!

I am glad to hear that you have now left hospital after such a long stay and hope you are enjoying being at home. We are very proud of our staff on Harvey Ward and I am sure they will remember you for some time to come.

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