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Police launch hunt for maskless man who tried to take patient from ICU

Police launch hunt for maskless Covid denier, 45, who tried to take dying elderly patient home from intensive care against doctors’ orders and say he may have caught the virus during hospital raid

  • Toby Hayden-Leigh filmed his clash with staff at East Surrey Hospital ward
  • Doctors warned the patient could ‘drop dead at any minute’ without oxygen 
  • Hayden-Leigh insists he is the patient’s friend and an ‘officer of the court’
  • He also accuses the hospital of ‘lying’ about the elderly patient’s condition 

Police have launched a hunt for a maskless Covid denier who tried to take a dying patient from intensive care against doctors’ orders.  

Toby Hayden-Leigh, 45, from Maidstone, Kent, was joined by a group of people who refused to wear masks inside East Surrey Hospital and then became abusive towards staff on January 21.    

A police spokesman made a number of comments as well videos which were abusive towards hospital staff were posted on social media on January 23. 

Joined by others close to the patient, Mr Haydeigh-Leigh filmed a team of medics – who were working tirelessly to save the pensioner’s life – and insisted he be discharged, despite a doctor warning he could ‘drop dead at any minute’.

Toby Hayden-Leigh, 45, from Maidstone, Kent, was joined by a group of people who refused to wear masks inside East Surrey Hospital and then became abusive towards staff on January 21

Insisting he was the patient’s ‘McKenzie friend’ – an untrained legal helper – he asks for the patient to be taken off oxygen, despite his seriously low levels, and ignored repeated requests to leave during the fiery 20-minute row. 

When Mr Hayden-Leigh and the others with the patient were told they were putting themselves and others in grave danger by being there, and in his case not wearing a mask, they simply replied: ‘It’s our own risk.’

The patient – who was seen coughing and struggling for breath throughout – removed his oxygen tube and demanded to go home, but was told by staff he would not survive the journey. 

The ringleader of the group, who insisted he was exempt from wearing a mask, added insult to injury by asking staff whether Covid was even ‘proven to exist’, before finally being booted out by security.

Footage of the disturbing incident has already been viewed thousands of times.


Joined by others close to the patient, Mr Haydeigh-Leigh filmed a team of medics – who were working tirelessly to save the pensioner’s life – and insisted he be discharged, despite a doctor warning he could ‘drop dead at any minute’

It shows the patient and his loved ones arguing with a young male doctor – as he desperately battles to save the man from the virus.

The doctor warns the patient if he removes his oxygen tube he will die, to which he replies: ‘Yeah, so you keep saying. Let’s go.’

Mr Leigh steps in and accuses the hospital of ‘lying’ about the patient’s condition and keeping his family in the dark.

The doctor responds: ‘My main concern is his safety and at the moment you are making him unsafe. He’s taken his oxygen off, he’s going to die if we don’t put it back on.’

The patient defiantly replies: ‘No, I’m not.’

The doctor refuses to discuss the matter further until the oxygen pipe is put back in – and the patient reluctantly agrees.

Appealing to his family, the doctor says: ‘You’re not respecting our wishes by coming inside. You’re going to spread Covid around.’

Mr Leigh insists ‘we’re fine’, and the patient – clearly struggling for air – asks: ‘What about my wishes?’ 

The doctor then points at the patient’s oxygen levels on a monitor and says: ‘Seventy-three per cent. He’s at risk of dropping dead at any minute.’

The seriously ill man says ‘I want to go home’ but is told: ‘You will die.’ Again, he dismisses the medical advice.


Security had to intervene, right, after Mr Leigh, who was filming the incident, refused to listen to doctors, left

The man’s loved ones continue to challenge the doctor but he stands firm and insists the patient will not survive without a constant supply of oxygen.

He says: ‘He has coronavirus pneumonia affecting both of his lungs. He’s on steroids called dexamethasone. He’s on antibiotics to treat concurrent bacterial infections.’

Mr Hayden-Leigh says his treatment should be replaced with vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc but is flatly told: ‘None of those are proven treatments for coronavirus.’ 

Security guards then arrive and order him to leave, but he refuses to comply, saying the patient is being held ‘hostage’.

He blasts: ‘I’m an officer of the court. I’m putting you on notice, if you put one hand on me and touch me I’ll be doing you for assault.’

The doctor tells the patient he needs to be put on a ventilator, but he shakes his head and says: ‘No way. Hurry up and get me out of here.’

Mr Hayden-Leigh then rants about Covid conspiracy theories, at which point the doctor ends the conversation and tells security to throw him out.

As he is hauled away, he shouts ‘get off me, ya p****’ and threatens to have the men prosecuted for assault. 

A police spokesman said: ‘On investigation, these posts related to an earlier incident at the hospital, on Thursday 21 January, when a number of people, some of whom were not wearing masks, gained access to the critical care ward to visit a family member and were abusive towards hospital staff. They also refused to leave.

‘Officers attended and issued fines to two individuals involved for breaching Covid restrictions and issued a breach of the peace warning, which resulted in the group leaving the location.’

Detective Chief Inspector Kimball Edey said: ‘We would like to speak to Hayden-Leigh in connection with this incident, and the escalating abusive and threatening comments being made towards hospital staff on social media.

‘These comments are extremely concerning, and are obviously causing considerable distress for those who are being targeted.

‘The staff at the hospital, as are all NHS workers, are trying to care for desperately-ill people in extremely challenging circumstances, and to be targeted and abused on social media in this way is simply unacceptable.’

He added: ‘We also need to track Hayden-Leigh down as a matter of urgency due to the public health risk he poses.

‘He came into close proximity with a patient who remains seriously ill with Covid and may well have contracted the virus himself.

‘We are appealing for any information and any help we can get from the public to find this man so that we can deal with him appropriately.’

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