Hospital review after man’s death

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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A hospital is reviewing the way it handles disruptive patients after the death of a man who had been escorted off the premises just days before his body was found in bushes.

Two dog walkers found Colin Ashton’s body adjacent to the green of the ninth hole at Stanley Park golf course on February 24.

The 51-year-old was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital (pictured) on the Friday before his death after complaining he had been assaulted on Egerton Road.

An inquest at Blackpool Town Hall heard how the former delivery driver was a heavy drinker, regularly took Valium, and had feared he would die in the weeks leading up to his death because of an existing health condition.

On the night he was taken to hospital he had reached a point where his behaviour had become unpredictable. Friend Stephen Baker often let Mr Ashton stay at his Blackpool home, and his statement was read out in court.

He said: “It was like he was drifting in and out of different worlds. He started talking to people that weren’t there and would try going into the toilet to get out of the flat.

“On the last day I saw him, on February 20, his behaviour was erratic. He was drinking heavily and fell over my coffee table eight or nine times.”

Mr Ashton was missing until he turned up hours later at another friend’s home with a bloodshot eye and blood around his mouth.

He was taken to A&E, but security were contacted shortly after because he was disruptive and “shouting he wanted to see a doctor”.

Security escorted him off the premises around midnight, but they were called again two hours later to reports he was kicking a door at the gastroenterology unit.

He was again removed from the premises and was last seen walking in the direction of the De Vere hotel. His body was found in thick brambles next to the golf course two days later. A post mortem concluded he died of hypothermia.

Recording a narrative verdict, Alan Wilson, senior coroner for Blackpool and the Fylde, said: “The Trust is reviewing the process about how to deal with these incidents when they occur.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust is committed to learning from all incidents and has reviewed this case thoroughly.

“We have an obligation and a duty of care to both patients and staff to keep them safe and an action plan has been developed to ensure the Trust meets those obligations for both parties.’’