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QEH investigating patient’s escape

by Sandy Deane
2 min read
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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) says it is investigating the circumstances under which a man escaped its care on Sunday before being found dead three days later at a beach on Lower Bay Street, St Michael.

That patient was identified as 32-year-old Andrew Cumberbatch who, according to family members, had been on suicide watch at the hospital.

“Matters of patient safety and security are taken very seriously, and the circumstances under which the patient was able to abscond from the ward are currently being investigated to ensure that a similar situation does not occur in the future,” the QEH said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Family members said Cumberbatch had attempted suicide and was taken to the hospital where he had surgery and was subsequently placed on suicide watch.

Hours after police discovered his body on the beach behind Pirate’s Cove on Wednesday morning, one of the deceased’s sisters, Latoya Cumberbatch said the family was seeking answers from the QEH about the tragic turn of events.

“If he had not gotten out the hospital he would still be living. We want answers. How somebody on suicide watch could get out the hospital?” she questioned. “Them saying he run through the door. He could hardly move when we went there and visited him. How could he have run?”

In its brief statement, the QEH would only confirm that on Sunday around 2 p.m., a male patient receiving care on Ward A1 “exited the ward and vacated the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s premises”.

“Hospital security was immediately alerted and engaged the services of the Barbados Police Force to locate the missing patient whose body was subsequently discovered at Bay Street, St Michael on Wednesday, July 6th,” it added.

The QEH stressed that it could not disclose the nature of the patient’s illness or the treatment he was receiving due to its commitment to patient privacy and confidentiality.

It extended condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

Cumberbatch, a mason by profession, was the owner of Hulk’s Construction and Repairs.

Family members said he was a very reserved person but he loved his job, and cooking and was a good father to his daughter. (SD)

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