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Alzheimer’s patient found alone in freezing weather 19 miles away from hospital after being discharged at 5am Michael Clement was missing for 23 hours after treatment for dehydrationHis family say he left the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London, alone at 5amHe was found 19 miles away when he knocked on a door in SuttonMr Clement told the homeowner: 'I'm cold, can I come in'
18:14 GMT, 18 December 2012
Safe: Alzheimer's sufferer Michael Clement, 68, went missing for 23 hours after he was discharged from hospital in the early hours
An Alzheimer's patient who was discharged from hospital at 5am in freezing temperatures was found when he knocked on a stranger's door 19 miles away and pleaded to come in from the cold.
The family of Michael Clement, 68, who suffers severe Alzheimer's, have accused health staff of 'disgusting' incompetence after the pensioner went missing for 23 hours.
His disappearance left his frantic family scouring the streets looking for him and triggered a desperate police helicopter and sniffer dog search.
The grandfather, from Thamesmead in Kent, had been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Woolwich, London, suffering from dehydration.
But members of Mr Clement's family have accused hospital staff of discharging him at 5.19am on December 7 without a coat, money or his relatives being contacted.
He was in the early hours of December 8 after he knocked on a door in Sutton and told the homeowner: 'I'm cold, can I come in'
His daughter-in-law Michaela Curren told MailOnline: 'We were worried sick.
'We were driving around looking for him and the whole family was out searching.
'The hospital said that they offered him transport and he refused it.
'But he was in a couple of weeks previously and family had been called and it must be all over his medical records that he has Alzheimer's.
'We're never going to know how he got where he did and it was freezing. Who knows how many doors he knocked on at that hour before someone answered.
'He had food on him so someone must have bought him food at some stage.
Frantic: Mr Clement's daughter-in-law Michaela Curren said that the family were 'worried sick' when he was missing
'When we had a call from the police saying he'd been found, we were shouting and screaming, if you can imagine what was going through our minds, it was such a relief he'd been found.'
Mrs Curren said that the family were overwhelmed with the support they received while searching for her father-in-law.
Mr Clement's picture was circulated across social networking sites and hourly pleas for help to find him were played out on radio stations.
An Alzheimer's sufferer for five years, Mr Curran had been able to live alone before he went missing but is now being cared for by family members, according to Mrs Curren.
Mrs Curren says that the family wish to take the matter further but are awaiting forms from the NHS Trust that runs the hospital to make a formal complaint.
The hospital confirmed that an investigation into the matter is now underway.
A spokesman for the South London Healthcare Trust, which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said today: 'We are investigating the circumstances around the discharge of Mr Clement from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last weekend.
'Mr Clement unfortunately left the hospital before arrangements for his travel home had been completed.
'We worked with the family and the police to try and locate Mr Clement.'
Investigation: South London's Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Michael Clements was being treated for dehydration