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21 February 2013, 05:00
Police are investigating the treatment of an 89-year-old woman in a hospital in Darlington after her family said they found her left on a mattress on the floor.
Bernice Zair, who suffered from dementia, had been admitted to Darlington's Memorial Hospital with an infection.
But her son said that, when he went to visit her, he found her in a room by herself with just a mattress and no bed.
Sam Zair said:
"Mum was admitted to hospital in December last year with a basic water infection and she also suffered from dementia.
When we went to visit her she was curled up on a mattress facing the wall in the corner of the room. She was facing the skirting board and she had no pillow at all.
I was absolutely disgusted with what we found her on and we could not get an answer as to why she was on the floor.''
Mr Zair's mother, who was from Bishop Auckland, died five weeks later but he said that the police are investigating what happened on the ward, not her death.
A spokesman for County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust said:
"We offer our condolences to Mr Zair for his recent loss. We have received his complaint which is being investigated with the involvement of the police, in line with local safeguarding adults guidance.
We have made Mr Zair aware that we cannot complete our investigation and respond to the issues he has raised until the police investigation is complete.''
A Durham Constabulary spokesman said:
"The matter has been referred to us and inquiries are at a very early stage.''