THE FAMILY of a partially blind dementia sufferer have called for an inquiry after he was sent home alone in a taxi from the John Radcliffe hospital just weeks before his death.

Cyril Tomline, 86, was found wandering at night in the driveway of his Long Wittenham home, near Didcot, dressed only in a blanket, nightshirt and slippers, calling for help on September 25.

His wife Ann says she was alerted by hospital staff only 15 minutes before his arrival and was expecting him later.

The 74-year-old said the whole family was 'appalled' at the treatment her husband received.

She said: “Cyril was in the early stages of dementia and almost blind. To send him home alone in a taxi without proper medical care was unforgivable.

"I saw him wandering around the driveway dressed in a night shirt, blanket and slippers on a cold night. If I had known earlier that he was to be sent home then I would have driven to the hospital and picked him up.

The grandmother added: “Cyril was totally confused and agitated. He kept on saying.‘Where am I?’. He was in such a state of distress that I had difficulty getting him to bed. It was so upsetting for us both. I can’t believe he was placed in this position by hospital staff who should have been more careful dealing with an elderly, frail man.”

The former advertising executive was re-admitted to the Oxford hospital the following day and died 16 days later from bronchial pneumonia on October 11.

Now his family is calling for an inquiry into the circumstances that led up to his death.

Mrs Tomline believes that her husband’s chest infection may have been made worse after his exposure to the cold night air and lack of warm clothing.

The former district councillor, who was the Liberal Democrat representative for Garsington for eight years, added: “The treatment my husband received was appalling. It's too late for him but by highlighting the circumstances surrounding Cyril’s death I urge the hospital to change its ways so that other people don’t have to go through such a distressing episode.

"Patients should not be sent home alone in a taxi at night without proper medical help.”

Mr Tomline’s daughter Emma said the whole family was shocked that he had been sent home by the hospital when staff had been told that he should not be left alone because of his early dementia.

She added: “When he was eventually placed in a ward the treatment and care he received was excellent – but to have discharged him alone in a taxi and left in the driveway was unbelievable.”

Sam Foster, chief nurse at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would like to offer my sincere sympathies to Mrs Tomline over the loss of her husband.

"We received a complaint from Mrs Tomline prior to her husband’s death in relation to the care that he received from the Trust.

"We are currently investigating her complaint and will be responding to Mrs Tomline in detail when our investigation has concluded."