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Family horrified by corpse left on ward

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A LOCAL couple visiting a UK hospital were horrified to find a corpse on the ward.

A LOCAL couple visiting a UK hospital were horrified to find a corpse on the ward. The body of the elderly woman was left there for about five hours before being certified dead and removed.

Island rugby player James Regnard and his wife Lucy have received an apology from North Bristol NHS Trust over the incident.

They had gone to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, to see Mr Regnard's 75-year-old grandmother, Katherine Dyer.

'I was disgusted that the body had been left in the room for so long,' said Mrs Regnard.

'There was a curtain drawn around the woman, but it kept blowing back and we could see her feet.'

The couple arrived at the hospital at about 3pm. Mrs Dyer told them that the woman in the next bed, who had been dying for days, had passed away between 9am and 10am.

Hearing this, Mrs Regnard, 25, said she ran outside to tell her husband, who was parking the car, not to bring children Ellie, 5, and Aimee, 2, on to the ward.

Two other patients were on the ward with Mrs Dyer.

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'That room should have at least been closed to visitors,' said Mrs Regnard. 'No windows were open and it was vile.'

Mrs Regnard asked a nurse whether it was legal to leave a corpse on a ward for so long. She was told that staff were not allowed to remove them before a doctor had officially confirmed the death.

Mrs Dyer was so distressed that she left the room and went to a day room where there was a TV. The Regnards stayed at the hospital until about 4.30pm and Mrs Dyer told them later that the body was not removed before 6.30pm.

'She was very upset by the body being there, especially as she is unwell herself,' said Mrs Regnard.

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'It's disgraceful that she should have to watch someone die and then have to sit in a day room because there is a body in hers.'

She said that from her experience, such patients in Guernsey were moved to separate rooms and allowed to die with dignity.

'We get much better care in Guernsey and I certainly wouldn't want to die in an English hospital,' said Mrs Regnard.

Richard Cottle, spokesman for the North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Frenchay Hospital, said the trust apologised to Mrs Dyer and her relatives for any distress caused.

When a patient died on a ward the trust needed to have the death confirmed by a doctor and it tried to do so as quickly as possible - usually within a couple of hours.

'In this particular case, the patient died at 1pm,' he said.

'As is usual when a loved one dies, the patient's family requested some private time before the doctor could come along and

certify the death.

'This was done at 5pm after a short delay due to the doctor being busy in theatre.'

He said the curtains had been drawn around the bed throughout.

The trust acknowledged, however, that the situation was far from ideal and could be distressing to other patients.

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