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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumberland Infirmary care worries over man who collapsed in street

Concerns have been raised about whether a Carlisle grandfather should have been sent home without any after care following a series of unexplained seizures.

Ronnie Carruthers photo
Ronnie Carruthers

Ronnie Carruthers, 60, of Millholme Avenue, Carlisle, was rushed to hospital after collapsing in the street near his Currock home on March 19. He broke his collar bone in the fall and was later told he’d had further seizures in the ambulance. He then suffered heart attack in hospital.

Mr Carruthers, who lives alone in a first-floor flat, recovered and was sent home a week later with medication, but the cause of his seizures has yet to be confirmed. He said that although his hospital care was good, no arrangements were made for anyone to check on him after he was released.

His neighbour Jimmy Potts, a Salvation Army representative, is also concerned at the lack of aftercare being provided by the local NHS.

“[Ronnie] lives in a first-floor flat with stairs down to the door. When he came home that night he walked across the hallway, stumbled and nearly fell down the stairs,” said Mr Potts.

“For a man to go through all of that, then to be left to his own devices – it just isn’t right. Somebody should be checking on him.”

Mr Carruthers, who has seven grandchildren, said he didn’t remember much about becoming ill, other than that he set off to walk home from a friend’s house at about 1pm.

“It normally takes me about 20 minutes but apparently I was found by the police and someone phoned for an ambulance at about 1.55pm. I remember someone saying I’d had a fit but not much else,” he said.

“When I did come round I was in the Cumberland Infirmary on a ward. I’d never had any real health problems before so it was a shock.”

Although he can walk short distances, Mr Carruthers said that since coming home he had felt vulnerable because of the seizures.

“I still feel a bit dizzy and a bit shaky. I haven’t tried to go far. It is worrying, especially when you are living by yourself,” he said.

“I’m on tablets and am going to see a neurologist at some point but they don’t know what it is. It might be epilepsy but it could be anything. I’ve stopped driving because I don’t want to take any chances.

“Luckily, Jimmy has been a good friend and my family have been popping in.”

The only medic Mr Carruthers has seen since coming home was his GP, but only after he phoned the surgery.

Mr Potts spoke out two years ago when two elderly neighbours were sent home from hospital in similar circumstances.

A spokesperson from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the infirmary, said: “We are looking into this case to understand better the details around Mr Carruthers stay in hospital and his subsequent discharge home to see whether there was anything we could have done better to improve his overall experience of care.”

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