A hospital is under fire for losing a patient’s possessions – and sending them to a dead man’s family by mistake.
Gerald Young went in for a routine operation and was discharged wearing NHS pyjamas and without his house keys, bank cards, driving licence and clothes.
They were bundled up and mistakenly labelled as the belongings of Allan Garrott who died at the same hospital three days after Gerald left.
After a month in storage they were handed to Allan’s mystified son Nathan – while his 63 year-old father’s real possessions are still missing.
Both families are now fuming at the mix-up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Margate, Kent.
Dad-of-two Gerald, 48, says a less trustworthy person could have easily burgled his house or looted his bank account.
And Nathan is still trying to find his dad’s belongings – although his mobile phone has been mysteriously used repeatedly since his death.
Gerald said: “The hospital is refusing to admit they’ve done anything wrong but they clearly lost my stuff.
“I left wearing hospital pyjamas and had to be picked up by a friend.
“But it turns out they’d managed to send my wallet, house keys, jeans and shirt to a complete stranger.
“Thankfully Nathan has been in touch and it turns he is an honest man.
“But in the wrong hands I could have been burgled or had money taken from my bank. It’s shocking.”
Gerald says his belongings went missing as he was moved between three different wards during his week-long stay at the hospital at the beginning of January.
He had been admitted for a leg infection and a blood clot and last saw his valuables when he arrived in the third unit.
Nathan, 28, of Gillingham, Kent said: “I went to the hospital to pick up my dad’s things and the keys to his flat and was given two clear plastic bags with his name on them.
“One contained his jacket and nothing else apart from his bank card and in the other was all this stuff that wasn’t his.
“There was another bloke’s wallet with his bank cards and driving licence, the keys to his house, his jeans, belt, slippers and shirt and his taxi driver’s licence.
“There was more than enough there for a burglar to do some serious damage.”
Honest Nathan first thought the property belonged to another dead man – until he tracked down grateful Gerald.
“He was perfectly alive and well on the phone but far from happy with the hospital,” said Nathan.
“I’m going to get his things back to him – but in the meantime most of dad’s stuff is still missing, including a chain he wore around his neck with two family rings on it.
“His mobile phone’s also missing – and we’ve found out that since his death it was used from the 12th to the 27th.
“Whether it’s been taken by someone at the hospital or not we don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, given what’s happened.”
A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We wholeheartedly apologise to Mr Young and are investigating what happened to make sure such a mistake cannot reoccur.”