Terrified stroke survivor abandoned outside hospital
TRAPPED in her body after a number of strokes and unable to talk or walk, Rita Bass was left with no shoes on a bench outside the Bundaberg Hospital.
The 71-year-old's husband said she was put on the bench by hospital staff after she was discharged last Thursday.
Peter Bass claims she was "dumped" in the hot sun and anything could have happened to her.
Now he wants to know how, why and who was responsible.
Mr Bass said his wife had bleeding on the brain in February and spent eight weeks in Brisbane and Bundaberg hospitals.
Before that she was an active woman who loved life and painting.
But the aneurysm left Mrs Bass unable to communicate, unsteady on her feet and unable to walk without assistance. She is fed through a tube and has panic attacks.
She also has memory loss and will often wander to find her husband when he is not in sight.
During the last Thursday morning, Mr Bass called an ambulance as he noticed his wife was dehydrated and her blood pressure had dropped.
About 2.50pm the hospital phoned Mr Bass advising his wife was being discharged.
"I asked if she could be transported home via ambulance," he said.
"The person on the phone said they would check and phone me back."
While he waited for the phone call, Mr Bass decided he would go and collect her, and drove the 10 minutes to the hospital.
"I was driving along when I saw her sitting on the bench, terrified, in the hot sun with no shoes," he said.
"It took me some time to get a park out the front where I collected Rita.
"I was so upset I took her straight home."
The next day Mr Bass phoned the hospital wanting answers. When he spoke with the NewsMail he had not had a response.
"The person who dumped her must be indifferent, callous and uncaring," he said.
"Why would they just dump her out there?
"Anything could have happened to her - she is a frail woman who only weighs 48kg.
"She can't even say her name."
Mr Bass said his wife's mental state was similar to a young child and questioned if the hospital would leave a small child unattended.
"Reets all I have, and I'm all she has," an emotional Mr Bass said.
"I don't blame the hospital itself, but the person who took her out and left her there alone.
"If I ever get sick just take me to the butcher shop."
He said he had no complaints about previous experiences at the hospital.
But he wanted to make sure what happened to his wife didn't happen to anyone else.
Answering questions from the NewsMail, a Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said staff placed the highest importance on the quality of its care.
"WBHHS takes all feedback seriously and we are always looking at ways to improve," the spokesman said.
"The concerns raised by Mr Bass to the NewsMail were already being investigated by our Clinical Governance Unit after they were brought to our attention on Friday."
The hospital made direct contact with Mr Bass yesterday to update him on the investigation and to address concerns he had about its progress.
"WBHHS is unable to comment in any further detail until this investigation is complete," the spokesman said.
"We encourage patients who have feedback about their care to contact our Clinical Governance Unit to enable us to learn and enhance our services."
It's not the first time Bundaberg Hospital has come under fire for leaving patients outside.
In February, the NewsMail reported that epileptic Leigh Klemens was wheeled out of the hospital in a semi-conscious state and left outside on a hospital bed.
Ms Klemens heard a doctor at the time say if she was left outside she may feel humiliated enough to "walk home".
A nurse found Ms Klemens and returned her to the hospital.