Patient trapped in hospital for months goes home

John Liddle has been stuck in hospital for four months. Picture: Scott Taylor
John Liddle has been stuck in hospital for four months. Picture: Scott Taylor
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A PATIENT trapped in hospital for four months is on the brink of freedom – and plans to celebrate with a “nice quiet day in the house”.

Walter “John” Liddle, who suffers from a degenerative disease, has been left languishing at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary since April because authorities couldn’t agree on a home care package.

It led to an apology from NHS Lothian, but the real relief came following confirmation that carers had been organised to look after him at his Pilton home, which will have a wet room fitted next week.

His best friend today hailed the Evening News for highlighting Mr Liddle’s plight, after we told a fortnight ago how the retiree had been left with nothing to do but sit for countless hours in a sterile ward.

Mr Liddle, 54, said: “It’s great. I’m so pleased that I’m going to get help.”

The Huntington’s disease sufferer was first admitted to hospital after breaking one of his shoulders in a fall.

The disease is an inherited condition that damages certain nerve cells in the brain and affects a person’s movement, cognition and behaviour. Sufferers die on average 20 years after the first symptoms develop.

Mr Liddle, whose father and brother have both died from the same disease, has been told he needs 24-hour care – even simple tasks such as walking and talking have become extremely difficult.

Lifelong friend Ronnie Robertson, 50, said: “We don’t know how long John has got. John’s lived longer than his dad and longer than his brother. I’ve seen in him personally – because I go in every day – a huge deterioration in a year from the man who used to go into a post office himself to now basically being in a wheelchair constantly.

“John probably hasn’t got a long life span, so we just wanted him to be where he wanted to be. We’re absolutely ecstatic that it [the funding] has been passed. It’s all thanks to the Evening News. If it hadn’t been for the paper, this wouldn’t all be happening.”

The tragic case has come in the midst of the bed-blocking crisis gripping Scotland’s 
hospitals.

Figures released in April showed the number of patients being taken back into Lothian hospitals shortly after being discharged was soaring above the Scottish average.