A war veteran has died after spending 54 years in hospital in what is believed to be the longest stay at a hospital by a patient in the country.

James Morris, 75, died on Easter Sunday last month after being admitted to hospital when he was 21 years old for a broken leg in 1962.

He suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table that left him in a vegetative state, The Telegraph reports.

Morris was serving in the Scottish Rifle regiment, the Cameronians, in Germany when he was injured in a car crash. He broke his nose and a thigh bone in the crash. When he returned to Scotland and underwent an operation on his broken thigh bone.

He suffered a cardiac arrest on the operating table that left him in a vegetative state, the newspaper said.

He was then moved to the Wester Moffat Hospital which was operated by the NHS Lanarkshire where he remained for the next 54 years.

Helen Ryan, the senior charge nurse at Wester Moffat said: "Having spent such an extraordinary long time at the hospital, Jimmy touched the lives of many; he was a good confidant and a great character, and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the Heather Ward."

An NHS spokesperson told The Telegraph that they were not aware of anyone having spent longer than 54 years in an NHS hospital.

His brother, Karl Morris, 62, said: "Over the years, we found a way to communicate with him. He was all there mentally but couldn't communicate with us at all. He only ever learned how to say three words again - his three loves - 'home, pub and horses."

He is now keen to find out the truth about his brother's accident in Germany.

"James was driving and we don't know if he fell asleep or not but his jeep was up against a tree on its side and he was found with a broken nose and femur.

"I don't know how or why but when he went to have his femur operated on, he had a cardiac arrest and lived the rest of his life in hospital," he said.