THIS WEEK IN 1976: ‘Monstorous’ act by Portsmouth hospital

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Nurses at a Portsmouth hospital were accused of a ‘monstrous’ decision to turn away a mentally ill man.

The staff at St James’ Hospital overruled a senior doctor, it was claimed, and refused to treat the 37-year-old.

‘It makes one wonder who is ruling the roost,’ said Kenneth White, in a case at Portsmouth Magistrates Court.

He added: ‘It is monstrous that we have in this city a hospital with a doctor who recommends this man should be taken in but staff who say he cannot.’

When helpers tried to find somewhere else, said Mr White, every hospital approached said they had no place for the man.

The court was told that the man was mentally ill with brain damage caused by alcoholism. He also had no control of his bodily functions because of liver damage.

The man was facing a minor trespass charge after he wandered on to the railway line five times at Portsmouth and Southsea station and was arrested by police.

Magistrates said they were ‘grieved’ they had no power to order Mr Perry into hospital.

He was given an absolute discharge by magistrates.