A grieving son has told how his frail 83-year-old dementia-suffering father died after being locked out – of a care home.
Heartbroken Steve Green, 52, said dad Gerry managed to wander out of a council-run care home in the early hours before desperately trying to get back in.
He was found outside and rushed to hospital but died a short time later.
Tragically, Steve, who normally cared for his dad at their home in Bartley Green, West Mids., had only booked Gerry in to the centre while he took a two-week holiday.
He was in Lanzarote when staff at the Kenrick Centre in Harborne, West Mids., called him to break the news that his dad had died.
The care home staff told Steve that his dad was filmed on CCTV trying in vain to get back into the home at 4.30am on April 2 this year.
He was discovered outside and taken to hospital but died shortly afterwards.
Steve told how an investigation had been launched by Birmingham City Council but that he felt the authority had failed to deliver any answers.
He said: “If he was found in my back garden in the middle of the night I’m sure somebody would have had me in court or social services would want to know what the hell I was playing at.
“To be outside is total neglect.
There should be no way a person with dementia can get out of a building.
“It’s a disgusting state of affairs.
I’m absolutely shocked by it and to think that I had faith in them to care for my dad is awful.
“He went for a walk along a corridor at the home and got out through a fire door.
“The alarms went off and they said they found him quickly.
“But why didn’t they just get him back to bed before he wandered outside? He’d have been back to sleep in ten minutes.
“If he’d died in his bed that’s fair enough, that’s life. It’s a nice way to go. But not outside, like a tramp.
“Had he got anything on his feet? I doubt he’d even got a dressing gown on.“
Steve also claims that staff at the care home failed to give Gerry any of his medication on the night he died, which included a sleeping tablet.
He said he did not know how long his dad was stuck outside the home.
He said: “I was told Dad was seen on CCTV walking up and down two to three times trying to get back in.
“By the time they found him he was probably almost dead.
“I can’t get anything off anybody. I don’t think they give a monkey’s to be honest.“
Gerry, a retired central heating engineer, had been looked after by Steve since his wife Ida, 78, died in 2004.
As well as dementia, Gerry also suffered from diabetes and a heart condition.
Steve said: “The doctors reckoned he was ready to go at any time.
“But, obviously, having a heart condition it must have been a shock for him being locked out at 4.30 in the morning.
“I don’t think he would be dead now if it wasn’t for that.“
Steve Green said that his dad perished after he was able to leave the Kenrick Centre via an unlocked emergency exit.
Dad Gerry would have been dressed in pyjamas when he was found outside by staff at the care home at 4.30 am.
Staff told Steve that CCTV recordings – which he has not been shown – showed his dad walking up and down by the emergency exit an another door several times.
He was found on the floor but it is not clear whether he collapsed or chose to lie down in
his confused state.
Steve demanded to know why the emergency exit was not more secure.
He added: “It’s common sense really – why not have some kind of measure to stop them just opening the door?
“Lots of businesses have those strings across so you have to give the door a good kick to open them, that would’ve been enough to stop a frail old man.”
He added that he feels ‘frustrated’ by the lack of information from the council and other authorities.
He said: “The worst part is not getting the answers you want – I’ve not even been able to get a proper answer from the doctors as to how he died.
“One question I want to know the answer to is if they had given him his tranquiliser that night, would this still have happened?
“But I’ve not had a clear response from the council or anyone else.
“The lack of information is the worst part, I just want answers.
Steve, who is out of work due to a long-term medical condition, was an only child and said he now has no family left.
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “We wish to express sympathy with Mr Green’s family.
“Upon receiving the complaint, we spoke to Mr Green (the son) and agreed to commission an independent investigator to look into the case.
“That investigation is currently ongoing so it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.“