Woman who fled Doncaster hospital barefoot in gown blasts town's mental health chiefs

A woman with mental health issues who fled Doncaster Royal Infirmary barefoot and dressed only in a surgical gown in the middle of the night has blasted hospital security and the town’s health bosses.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 11:56 am

The woman was captured on CCTV cameras walking along Armthorpe Road and attempting to flag down a passing car after fleeing from the hospital in the early hours of last Friday, just yards from the scene of a recent attempted rape.

Now the woman in the footage has come forward to reveal how she was able to flee the hospital and has called for more to be done to help mental health patients in Doncaster.

The woman, 41, who has asked not to be named, was able to walk more than a mile to the Sportsman pub in Armthorpe where a concerned couple picked her up and called police who returned her to the hospital.

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The woman, barefoot and dressed only in a gown, was captured on CCTV attempting to flag down a car near to the hospital.

She said: “It’s wrong that I managed to get as far as I did. I just walked past the security barefoot and dressed only in a gown and straight out onto the road.

"More needs to be done to help people with mental health issues in Doncaster.”

The dark-haired woman, who suffers from borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety and epilepsy as well as other mental health issues, was admitted to the hospital last Thursday under the Mental Health Act after suffering a fall in her garden.

She said: “I had a fall and the next thing I know I was in hospital.

"They kept me waiting on a trolley for 16 hours with nothing happening and I’d asked if they would let me go outside to have a cigarette. They refused. If they had let me go out, I wouldn’t have done what I did.”

Barefoot and sporting only a flimsy hospital gown, she fled the hospital in the direction of Armthorpe and was found nearly an hour later.

The incident was caught on CCTV camera and a householder expressed his fears for the safety of the woman.

He said: “Another woman out and about in the early hours in what looks like a hospital gown on Armthorpe Road.

"After what happened last week this is asking for trouble.”

She was spotted just yards from where an attempted rape took place earlier this month.

On August 1, at 4.50am, an 18-year-old was attacked near to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The woman seen in the footage was discharged the following morning after medics decided she was well enough to return home.

"I’ve been asking for help for years,” said the woman, who says she has been receiving treatment for mental health issues since the age of 15.

"I just walked straight out without anyone stopping me,” she said. “Past security, police, paramedics, ambulances, the lot.

"I just wanted to go home. When I got back to the hospital, they basically said it was my fault and they were worried about me.”

"Anything could have happened. I didn’t realise until afterwards there had been an attempted rape where I was walking.

"More needs to be done to help people with mental health issues in Doncaster. When it is your leg that’s broken, its easy to see and fix the problem.

"When its your brain, its invisible. I need the proper help, but I’m not getting it.

"If I can just walk out of hospital as easily as that, others can too. People with mental health issues need to be accepted. To me, it’s not taken seriously enough.”

David Purdue, Chief Nurse at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Our primary aim is to maintain the safety of patients in our care. The majority of our wards are locked and secured, however, if a patient has mental capacity we cannot prevent them from leaving if they make this decision against our advice.

“For those who require care and treatment we try our best to ensure they stay with us, but if they do decide to leave we have a clear escalation plan to try and minimise any harm that may come to the individual and ensure they return safely to the hospital.”