Belfast Telegraph

Hospital sent patient home too early, watchdog rules

A patient was discharged prematurely from a hospital's emergency department, a review found.

The woman was admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital after complaining of a migraine, vomiting and diarrhoea.

She claimed that after being examined and given medication, she was ordered out of bed by a doctor and taken into the waiting area of the emergency department.

When she later took a taxi home, she said she continued to vomit and was unsteady on her feet. She complained that staff were unaware she had received morphine earlier that day and might still be under the influence of it.

She believed that the trust had failed in its duty of care to her.

The woman made a complaint to the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman, and her case is featured in its new bulletin.

The Ombudsman's investigation found that staff in the emergency department were aware the patient had been given morphine earlier in the day. This element of the complaint was not upheld.

However, the Ombudsman found that after receiving treatment the patient should have been moved to an observation ward and not the waiting room.

She also found that observations should have been carried out by staff and her discharge delayed until she was considered well enough to tolerate fluids and food.

The Ombudsman recommended that the trust apologise to the patient.

Belfast Telegraph

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