‘How did hospital lose all my wife’s clothes?’

John and Eva de Marris

John and Eva de Marris - Credit: Archant

The husband of a pensioner hospitalised after a fall is struggling to find out how the hospital managed to lose her clothes and shoes.

Eva de Marris, 71, who is disabled and recovering from a stroke, was admitted to Watford General Hospital on Tuesday, February 20. After treatment, she was discharged on Tuesday, March 6.

Her husband, John de Marris, 87, told the Herts Ad how when she returned from hospital she had neither the clothes nor the shoes she had been wearing when she went in, and searches around the wards she had stayed in failed to locate the missing garments.

Mr de Marris, who lives with his wife in Worley Road, St Albans, said: “She was transferred from various wards - four in all. Somewhere between being admitted and returning home they managed to lose all her clothes and shoes.

“She was returned by ambulance wrapped in a blanket and they said they hadn’t got any clothes for her. I contacted each ward and I found a grey bag with some various newspapers and bits and pieces, including one pink and white sock and one grey sock which didn’t even belong to her.

“They have to approach each ward and get them to admit responsibility. They are all going to hold their hands up and say ‘not us’.

“I was asked why I didn’t check each ward. I’m not in the hospital. They’ve been quoting procedure all the time.”

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Mr de Marris sent the hospital an invoice for his wife’s clothes. Her shoes cost £45 and her other clothes cost approximately £110 in total.

“They said we needed receipts but obviously we don’t keep receipts for clothes we brought years ago,” Mr de Marris said. “I can’t tell you what clothes she was actually wearing, I can only tell you generally.

“I spoke to a bloke in the Patient Affairs department who droned on about procedures. I said I need a decision I don’t need a lecture about procedure.

“The staff [at the hospital] were lovely. The nurses and doctors - I can’t fault them. It’s when you get into peripherals they just quote chapter and verse.”

A statement from the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our Patient Affairs team has been in close contact with Mr de Marris about his wife’s clothing after she was admitted to Watford General Hospital in February.

“We can confirm that this case is currently going through the relevant claims process for lost items and we hope that it will be resolved soon.

“We are pleased that Mr de Marris felt that the staff and nurses were ‘lovely’ and we wish his wife all the best.”

John and Eva de Marris previously appeared in the Herts Advertiser after they were left waiting for hours for a private ambulance.

Last year, on two separate occasions, Mrs de Marris was left without food or water for between three and four hours while waiting for the private ambulance to pick her up from St Albans City Hospital.

The delay causes Mrs de Marris, who is diabetic, to become hypoglycemic due to her low blood sugar.

Although the couple praised hospital staff for rushing to buy his wife food and drink, and described the ambulance crew themselves as helpful, they claimed the controllers had let them down.

The couple came forward as part of a Herts Ad exposé on private ambulance services, which revealed numerous elderly patients had been kept waiting.