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Man found dead in hospital lift after 8 days

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Man found dead in hospital lift after 8 days
The Evangelical Hospital in Gelsenkirchen. Photo: DPA
16:57 CEST+02:00
A psychiatric patient lay dead for eight days in a broken-down lift in a hospital in Gelsenkirchen before being found, even though hospital authorities noticed he was missing on July 3rd.

According to a report the elevator had a technical problem on July 2nd the police reported on Monday. But the emergency button inside the lift seems to have been fully functional.

Police are now investigating whether the man pressed the button while he was trapped inside.

The administration of the Evangelical Hospital said they had been deeply affected by the death and would do everything they could to cooperate with the police inquiries.

The 59-year-old had entered himself for treatment in the hospital's psychiatric ward. His disappearance was already noted on July 2nd but the carers had thought nothing of it as it was not unusual for patients to leave the hospital of their own choice.

“For this reason the disappearance wasn't treated as particularly significant,” said the police in a statement.

The hospital claims to have contacted the home at which the man was normally resident and when he still hadn't turned up on July 3rd they informed the police.

“We can only make assumptions as to the actual cause of death. It lies in the hands of the prosecutors to determine the time of death,” read a statement from the hospital.

The autopsy gave no indication that the man died of violent causes although the state of decomposition the body was found in made determining a cause of death difficult, said police.

It is also still unclear why the lift was not repaired for eight days. The police have revealed that a fully functioning lift was in operation directly opposite the broken one.

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