Blind patient left in park by Japan hospital staff

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TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) Hospital workers in Japan took a blind patient to a park and abandoned him, then made an anonymous phone call for an ambulance to take him away, a spokesman for the hospital admitted today.

The four men, all office staff at the hospital in the city of Sakai, western Japan, took the 63-year-old diabetes patient home, but then left him in a nearby park after his ex-wife refused to take care of him, the spokesman said.

''We deeply regret this happened ... We find it difficult to understand why they did such a thing,'' he said, adding that they had no instruction to abandon him.

The patient had refused to be discharged from the hospital even though he was fit enough to be treated as an out-patient, the spokesman said.

Sakai City health official Ken Sakaguchi condemned the case.

''This should not have taken place -- it's unthinkable under normal circumstances,'' he said.

REUTERS SV KP1131

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