Glasgow & West Scotland

Patient dies after 54 years in same Airdrie hospital

James Morris Image copyright Caters News
Image caption James Morris was admitted to Wester Moffat Hospital when he was just 21 years old

A former soldier thought to be the UK's longest-serving patient has died after spending 54 years at the same hospital.

James Morris was admitted to hospital with a broken leg in 1962 but never went home after suffering a cardiac arrest on the operating table.

He was left in a vegetative state after the operation and was moved to Wester Moffat Hospital in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire.

The Army veteran, who could only say three words, died in April aged 75.

His brother Karl Morris, 62, said a member of staff from Wester Moffat had suggested that no-one had been in care in a single hospital longer than James, who was just 21 when he was admitted.

Karl Morris, from Coatbridge, said: "Over the years we found a way to communicate with him. He was all there mentally but couldn't communicate with us at all.

"He only ever learned how to say three words again - his three loves - 'home', 'pub' and 'horses'.

"We often took him on holidays in Britain and the hospital knew how much he loved the pub so they would even take him there now and again."

Image copyright Caters News
Image caption James Morris was left in a vegetative state after suffering a cardiac arrest during a leg operation

James Morris was serving in the Scottish Rifle regiment, the Cameronians, in Germany when he was injured in a car crash.

He only broke his nose and thigh bone in the crash but part of his brain shut down during the operation on his thigh.

Helen Ryan, senior charge nurse at Wester Moffat, said: "Our condolences are with Jimmy's family at this time.

"Having spent such an extraordinarily long time at the hospital, Jimmy touched the lives of many. He was a good confidant and a great character and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the Heather Ward."

Wester Moffat Hospital confirmed Mr Morris had spent 54 years in their care after spending two years in other hospitals.

'Outstanding' care

An NHS spokesman said they were not aware of anyone having spent longer than 54 years in an NHS hospital.

Karl Morris has praised the "unbelievable" staff at Wester Moffat for the care they gave his brother.

He said: "Everyone at the hospital was outstanding, to care for a man throughout his entire life is quite something and we couldn't be more grateful to the NHS.

"It was a place for young disabled people and over the years I've seen countless patients and staff come and go.

"We made sure he got out over the years to live as fulfilling a life as possible and even right up to the week before he died we brought him home to visit."

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