Belfast Telegraph

Probe at hospital after patient leaps from ward window

By Anne Madden

A hospital trust is reviewing safety procedures after an elderly patient managed to jump from a second-storey window earlier this week.

The 79-year-old man, who had been in a confused state, broke multiple bones and dislocated his jaw as he landed on concrete ground outside the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The patient, who is a cancer sufferer, had been admitted to hospital last week for treatment of a gastric virus.

However, he has now received surgery on a shattered hip and ruptured kneecap as a result of the fall.

The father-of-three from Dundonald is being cared for in the orthopaedic ward of the hospital and is described as being “in a comfortable condition”.

The Belfast Telegraph has not named the man at the request of his family.

It is understood staff were aware the man, who does not suffer from dementia, had appeared confused since he was admitted to the hospital, although this is not thought to be related to any medication he was taking.

He had told his family about visions he was seeing through the hospital window.

Staff on the ward had been monitoring the patient but at 3.40am on Tuesday a nurse heard a commotion and discovered the elderly man climbing out of a window.

She desperately tried to grab him but it was too late. As well as hip and knee injuries, the 79-year-old suffered a broken ankle, elbow and lacerations to his face.

A friend of the family said she was “horrified that this could happen on a care of the elderly ward”.

“The family are still in shock over what happened,” she said.

“His wife is elderly too but his children have been dealing with the incident.”

A spokeswoman for the South Eastern Health and Social Services Trust confirmed that the incident had taken place.

“The Trust can confirm there was an incident in which an elderly gentleman fell from a window,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Trust is investigating the incident and a full review is underway.

“It is inappropriate to make any further comment until the review is complete.

“The gentleman is currently being cared for within the hospital and is in a comfortable condition.”

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