Grandfather walks into room after being declared dead in Norfolk hospital blunder

Dennis Freeman: Pictures

Dennis Freeman: Pictures - Credit:

A grandfather whose family had just been told by doctors that he had died walked into a room and shouted 'dead man walking'.

Grandfather of 12 Dennis Freeman, 81, had been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn after suffering from dizzy spells.

While in hospital, a patient in the bed next to his died and arrangements were made to tell the deceased's family.

But when Mr Freeman's wife of 60 years, Ursula, arrived at the hospital with her daughter and grand-daughter to take her husband home, she was taken to the side by two doctors and escorted into a waiting room.

Mrs Freeman, 79, from Sutton Road, Leverington, near Wisbech, said: 'The main one 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.

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

'Then they turned around and said they had made a mistake. It wasn't the right person, but it was like a bereavement.'

Mr Freeman saw his family being taken into the room and remembered a film they used to watch, The Green Mile.

He said: '...and the bloke walking along the corridor, dead man walking... so I went in there and said dead man walking.'

Dr Beverley Watson, medical director at the QEH, 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.'