March man, 92, punched in the face at Peterborough City Hospital while resting on ward after heart attack fear

Terry Holyoake, Henry Denham's son in law. Picture: Steve Williams

Terry Holyoake, Henry Denham's son in law. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

A 92-year-old man was punched in the face while resting in bed on a ward at Peterborough City Hospital – prompting a promise to review security.

Medical staff and hospital chiefs have apologised to the family of March man Henry Denham and are investigating to see if any lessons could be learned.

“Regretfully, we can confirm that an incident occurred on one of our wards where a male patient was assaulted by another male patient,” said Jo Bennis, chief nurse at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

“We have apologised to both the patient concerned and his family for the shock and upset this has caused. We can confirm that the patient sustained some minor cuts in the incident.

“Events such as this are extremely rare as the vast majority of our patients refrain from violence.”


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Mr Denham was taken by ambulance to hospital on Monday after suffering what the family feared was a heart attack.

He was admitted on to the medical assessment unit, the ward next to the accident and emergency wing, which is where the unprovoked attack took place.

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His son in law Terry Holyoake said: “You expect a hospital to be safe. It’s a sad reflection of the times, an erosion of standards.

“My father in law has Alzheimer’s. He’s an innocent old man. It’s just shocking.”

The family received a call from the hospital on Tuesday morning informing them that Mr Denham had been attacked.

His daughter Evelyn Holyoake spent the day liaising with hospital staff and police, and caring for her father.

Ms Bennis also said: “We are committed to being vigilant in maintaining the safety of our patients at all times and will be investigating this incident to see whether there is any additional learning required by our staff.

“We are working closely with the patient and his family to provide further reassurance and support for the remainder of his hospital stay.”

A man is being cared for by the mental health team in relation to the incident.

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