A hospital has apologised to a suspected heart attack patient who was left to sleep on a chair in a waiting area overnight because of a lack of beds.
When Terry Burns, 44, who underwent a double heart bypass three years ago, began feeling unwell, his family rushed him to the accident and emergency department of Royal Preston Hospital.
Grandad-of-three Terry was admitted to the medical assessment unit at 7.30pm one evening for an ECG and blood tests. But although some tests were carried out, there was no bed for him by the time his sister Tina Burns-Moore left that night.
When Tina came back in the morning, she was horrified to find Terry sitting in the same chair she had left him in, fully clothed and unwashed.
Tina, 45, says: “We are really angry. He has come in for help because he hasn’t been well. If they couldn’t accommodate him, someone could have contacted us and we could have taken him to sleep in his own bed.
“It was chaos – there were people coming and going.
“There was a lady on a trolley in a bay who was asked to get off the trolley because they needed it.”
Terry, who lives in Bamber Bridge, was given a bed later that day and was able to get some rest while he and his family awaited the test results.
Terry said: “It wasn’t nice at all. It was chaos in the MAU.
“It got to about 3am and they managed to find beds for everyone except me. I could have gone home but they said I was best to stay in case I needed immediate assistance.
“From the nurses’ point of view I completely understand – if there is nowhere for me to go, there is nowhere for me to go, there is nothing they can do but I am a bit upset.”
Terry has since been referred to a cardiologist for further medical investigation.
Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Firstly we would like to sincerely apologise for the delay in identifying a bed for Mr Burns.
“Our priority is to always provide excellent care with compassion for our patients and we regret that in this instance that was not achieved.
“We very much encourage any patients and families who have any queries about their care and treatment to contact the team that is looking after them or talk to our patient advice and liaison services.
“We have already started an investigation and will take action to ensure this does not happen in the future.”
A spokesman for the hospital added there was not a regular shortage of beds and Mr Burns had been admitted during an unusually busy period last Wednesday night.