‘Drunks made A&E experience horrific’
A Dunstable mum says she was forced to leave the Luton & Dunstable Hospital’s A&E department because drunk patients were distressing her poorly son.
Gemma Reichel, 30, of Douglas Crescent, went to the hospital at around 8.30pm with her three-year-old son, Cory, after he became ill at home.
“We decided to call an ambulance because he was so hot and had had a convulsion,” she said.
“They told us we would be seen quickly because of his age, but we waited for ages.
“There were police in there with a man and a woman in handcuffs.
“The woman started to go mad, she wanted to escape from the police and started hitting her head against a wall. She was very violent and screaming the place down.”
Gemma, a PA, took her son outside until the woman was moved to another area.
Things then took a turn for the farcical, she said.
“The man in handcuffs was called in to see a nurse, and when he came back into reception the police weren’t there. He walked straight out the door.
“A nurse followed him and five minutes later the police came out and said ‘Where is he?’ Everybody told them he’d escaped, and they ran out.
“They came back with him five minutes later and everyone cheered – it sounds funny now but it wasn’t at the time.”
Two hours after they had arrived, Cory was seen by a nurse, but his mum was told it would be at least 40 minutes, and probably a lot longer, before they could see a doctor.
“I decided to take him home and we went to the GP first thing the next morning,” she said. “Children shouldn’t have to sit with drunks and violent people who aren’t safe.”
Cory turned out to have a flu-type virus and made a speedy recovery. “They said it was normal but it was frightening at the time,” she said.
A hospital spokesman said Gemma’s concerns would be thoroughly investigated.
A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said officers had agreed with hospital staff that they would leave the man in handcuffs in order to deal with another person behaving violently.
She added: “While the officers were dealing with the incident the original prisoner had been allowed to step outside for a cigarette but at no point did he leave the grounds of the hospital or escape.”
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Weather for Luton
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 12 C to 19 C
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