Hospital apologises after wrongly breaking news of husband’s death to wife

Queen Elizabeth Hospital , King's Lynn. ENGANL00120140502172958
Queen Elizabeth Hospital , King's Lynn. ENGANL00120140502172958
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A grandmother has spoken of her shock of being told by hospital doctors that her husband had died minutes before he walked into the room.

Ursula Freeman, 79, says she struggles to sleep and follows husband of 60 years Dennis around the house after mistakenly being told he had died by doctors at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on November 11.

Dennis, 81, was admitted in the Gayton Road hospital after suffering dizzy spells but a patient lying in a neighbouring had died during the evening.

Mrs Freeman, of Leverington near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, was later ushered into a waiting room with her daughter Elaine Faxton, 53, by two doctors.

She said: “The main doctor was standing at the side of me and he said ‘I’m afraid to tell you your husband is dead’.

“Then my daughter got up and said ‘you mean to tell me my dad has just died? I can’t believe it, he’s not dead’.

“So they said he is and that was that, I was in so much of a state, I couldn’t breathe with my asthma, I went all shaking and everything.

“My daughter was saying ‘come on mum, breathe’, and then of course he walked into the room.

“Then they turned around and said I think we’ve made a mistake, it wasn’t the right person but it was like a bereavement.”

Mr Freeman had noticed his wife and family being taken into the room and had wondered what was going on.

He said: “I said about a terrific film we used to watch, The Green Mile, and the bloke walking along the corridor, dead man walking.

“She was crying her eyes out and shaking so I went in there and said: ‘dead man walking’.

He added: “Why couldn’t the doctors have just asked who she was or who she was going to see?”

Mr Freeman had previously suffered from a triple bypass and had three lumps cut off his lungs from asbestosis 15 years ago.

Dr Beverley Watson, medical director at the hospital, said: “We have apologised to the family for the distress caused by this mistake

“As soon as the doctor realised they were speaking to the wrong family they explained what had happened and the patient was invited into the room to reassure them.”