A dad-of-five who drove himself to hospital after thinking he was having a stroke was slapped with a parking ticket – despite telling officials he was in a ward.
Gerald Morris, 54, rushed to A&E in his white van when he felt his face go numb and speech become slurred – the same symptoms he had experienced four months earlier when he had a stroke.
When he arrived nurses put a note on his vehicle to try and stop parking attendants and Gerald even organised for his wife to collect the van later that day.
But parking enforcement ignored the plea letter from nurses and issued Gerald with a £20 fine while he was receiving emergency care inside.
Gerald said: “I’ll admit that I was panicked, it’s a very scary situation.
“I drove to the hospital and left my big white van in the staff car park outside the Richard Stevens Ward and shot straight to the hospital.
“I checked in and rang my wife to come and collect the van because I knew I couldn’t leave it there.
“I told the nurses where van was and they kindly put a note on the windscreen saying not to give me a ticket and that I was a patient in their ward.”
Gerald from, Smarden, Kent, spent three days at Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital having tests but he had not suffered a second stroke.
After returning home he wrote to parking services to appeal the fine but was told “no way” and begrudgingly paid the £20 fine.
Gerald said: “I dealt with it when I got out of hospital and was quite clam, mistakes happen.
“I wrote to parking services and in a very polite, clear way explained what had happened and explained about the note left by the nurses.
“But I received a reply basically saying ‘no way’ and threatening me with bailiffs unless I paid.
“Yes I understand the need for parking regulations and if I’d parked on double yellow lines to pop in to a shop and get a sandwich then fair enough.
“But I wasn’t having a sandwich, I thought I was having a stroke and I had taken every possible measure to explain the situation.”
Shortly after paying the fine East Kent Hospitals Trust contacted Gerald to apologise and arranged to refund his £20.
He added: “They rang up to say there had been a mistake and they would refund me but it’s not really about the £20. It’s the principle of the thing.
“This has nothing to do with the nurses, they were absolutely amazing. I have no fault with them whatsoever and could praise them all day.
“But the nurse left a letter on the window explaining where I was, with a phone number and everything. I was parked right by the ward, in a space, they could have just popped in to check, it’s just a bit of common sense.
“Heart attacks and strokes, that sort of thing, it’s a really awful feeling because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“I’m not after sympathy at all, there are a lot of people much worse off than me, but I think they should have used their common sense.”
East Kent Hospitals spokesman said: “When Mr Morris appealed against his ticket he didn’t mention that hospital staff had left a note on the van.
“If we had been aware of this, we would not have enforced the parking charge.
“We are very sorry that this has happened and we have brought it to the attention of our parking team.”