Hospital bosses meet grieving family

TOP bosses at Ipswich Hospital have met the family of a patient who went missing for seven hours before being found dead in a loading bay.Keith Welham was recovering from an operation to clear a blockage in his bowel when he ripped out his catheter and colostomy bag and fled his ward on January 20, dressed only in a nightgown.

TOP bosses at Ipswich Hospital have met the family of a patient who went missing for seven hours before being found dead in a loading bay.

Keith Welham was recovering from an operation to clear a blockage in his bowel when he ripped out his catheter and colostomy bag and fled his ward on January 20, dressed only in a nightgown.

The 40-year-old, who had learning difficulties, was reported missing from the hospital's Surgical Assessment Unit at 12am. His body was discovered in a loading bay at the back of the hospital at around 7am after a massive search involving police was launched.

Now the director of nursing and medical director at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust have met his grieving family, following an internal investigation.

A statement issued by The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said: “Following the tragic death of Mr Keith Welham at Ipswich Hospital on 20 January 2006, director of nursing Gwen Collins, and medical director Mr Ian Scott have met with Mr Welham's family.

“We have shared with the family the results of the trust's internal investigation. We shall be sending them a complete copy of the investigation and the autopsy report.

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“We will be available to the Welham family, to answer any further questions.”

The trust said the Welham family wanted privacy at a difficult time but last month they asked questions about what went wrong, particularly as Mr Welham had gone missing from the hospital before and managed to walk to the family home in Geneva Road.

Speaking at the time, Mr Welham's brother Darren said: “What I want to know is why it took them so long to find him, especially when he had gone missing before.

“I used to work in the hospital and I know that where he was found was not that far away from the ward he was staying on. It was only a few minutes walk away.

“I am surprised it took them seven hours. We were told that someone looked in the place where he was twice before he was found but they didn't find him.”

His family described him as a fun-loving man who was young at heart. Last month, they believed he had died after suffering a massive heart attack in the loading bay.

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