'Lost' patient died waiting at hospital

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

AN ELDERLY patient died after being 'lost' in a hospital casualty department, an inquest was told yesterday.

Elsie Westron, 89, was not examined once in nearly four hours before she eventually collapsed and died at Greenwich District Hospital, south London. Two doctors admitted they had been unable to find her even though she was in a room in the casualty department.

The Southwark Coroner, Sir Montague Levine, said it was 'extraordinary' that a hospital could lose a patient. He adjourned the inquest until next week so that more witnesses could be called. A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Westron died of a heart attack that may have occurred while she was waiting in the casualty room on 1 September.

The doctors said they had searched for her and asked staff if they knew where she was, but no one did.

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