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Medway Maritime Hospital patient says situation 'out of control' as violent Covid patient placed on general ward

A vulnerable cancer patient says he feels "stuck" in hospital after an aggressive man placed on his ward tested positive for coronavirus.

Kevin Gearey, who has been shielding throughout the pandemic due to being at extreme risk if he catches the virus, went into Gillingham's Medway Maritime Hospital early Saturday and was admitted to a general ward.

He tested negative for Covid-19 and has not been showing symptoms of the virus but was kept in under observation due to a chest infection having spent 16 hours in the emergency room on Friday.

But on Sunday evening, a spare bed on the ward was occupied by a new patient who was repeatedly aggressive and abusive towards staff.

Rochester resident Mr Gearey says the "obnoxious" patient was swearing and shouting at hospital staff who were forced to "physically wrestle" him to keep him under control during outbursts which have continued throughout the week.

When the grandfather-of-two raised his concerns with the ward manager and said he wanted to call the police, he was told the patient would be moved as he'd tested positive for coronavirus.

But as of this morning, the patient was still on the ward in the small room where Mr Gearey and two others are being treated.

Kevin Gearey is in Medway Maritime Hospital where a |Covid-positive patient has been placed on his ward
Kevin Gearey is in Medway Maritime Hospital where a |Covid-positive patient has been placed on his ward

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Gearey, 66, said: "I'm stuck in a ward with a bloke who's got Covid. There's not enough room for the patients.

"They won't admit they've lost control because they have."

Mr Gearey says despite the man on their ward being a confirmed Covid patient he has not been moved and he and his fellow patients have not been tested again.

"We want Covid tests and the reply from the doctor was 'I'll see if that's possible'. I thought it was a right. It's been 72 hours.

"I'm extremely worried. It's potentially fatal for me.

The 66-year-old grandfather says he and his family are extremely worried as he's a vulnerable cancer patient
The 66-year-old grandfather says he and his family are extremely worried as he's a vulnerable cancer patient

"I can't wait to get out of here and I'm seriously considering discharging myself."

Mr Gearey questioned why the NHS has not started using Nightingale hospitals for the patients in Medway with the virus now reportedly spread throughout the hospital.

He said: "I was asking a nurse and she said if they send patients they have to send staff and they don't have enough. The government has messed up. What's the point of having it if they then can't staff them."

The experience has left him frightened that having been careful and shielding throughout the pandemic, this trip to hospital has given him Covid which he could be bringing home where he feels safer than staying put.

The father-of-three said he had "no idea" about the situation at the hospital and feels he would not have gone in knowing how much the hospital is struggling to contain the virus.

Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham
Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham

"It's been one long nightmare," he said. "From what I've gathered from the nurses it's happening in other wards.

"I didn't want to come in especially at this time but I heard 'chest infection' and thought I better had."

He said the nurses had been "wonderful" but he felt the hospital could no longer class the wards as either hot or cold for Covid and non-Covid patients being separated.

Last month, we reported how a Gillingham dad had died after contracting Covid while in the hospital for another medical complaint.

Half of the hospital's approximately 500 beds are taken up with coronavirus patients.

James Devine
James Devine

Latest figures seen by KentOnline show 225 confirmed patients were in the hospital with the virus while a further 15 are in critical care and there are 27 suspected Covid patients. Almost 400 deaths have been recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Responding to Mr Gearey's problems, James Devine, chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I apologise for the distress caused, and we are looking into the situation.

“Bed allocations are based on clinical decision making and we test all patients for Covid-19 when they are admitted and periodically during their stay in hospital, in line with national guidance.

“Procedures are in place to reduce the risk of possible Covid-19 transmission at the trust, including staff testing, temperature checks on arrival for patients, visitors and staff, and appropriate PPE use by our staff, but ultimately what we need is for the number of Covid cases to come down, which is why it is so important for everyone to follow national advice.”

To get all the latest news and guidance about coronavirus, click here.

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