The man, who suffers from dementia, fell from a second-floor ventilation window after recovering from pneumonia in a hospital in Torsby, western Sweden.
During the fall, the man broke his leg, collarbone, and may have sustained a brain haemorrhage. He was taken to intensive care and underwent surgery during the night.
Karin Lundin, head of the hospital, explained that the hospital cannot control patients unlocking the windows.
“It’s not a locked hospital and there is nothing to stop a patient opening a ventilation window,” she told the Värmlands Folkblad newspaper (VF), adding that the hospital team is “terribly sad” about the incident.
However, the family of the 81-year-old maintains that they warned the hospital of the man’s tendency to move about at night.
“Dad is senile and can run around at night, we have clearly informed the staff of this,” explained the man’s son, Thomas Svedberg, to VF.
“The personnel on the ward didn’t notice anything – it was the staff on the bottom floor who heard my father scream.”
The incident has now been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in accordance with Sweden’s Lex Maria, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.
It was not the first time someone has fallen from such a ventilation window at the hospital, with someone falling from the third floor in 2007, sustaining injuries which proved to be fatal.