The care our father received in hospital earlier this year

Our 75 year old father was admitted to Grimsby Princess Diana Hospital in January this year with breathing difficulties. 7 days later, after what we felt was a lack of care, and being assaulted by another patient (he was pushed to the ground face down on to his hernia causing bruising to his head and nose), and despite us being told he would be home within a few days, he suffered a heart attack and died less than 24 hours later.

This is now an open complaint case. The ward was put under special measures, which we understand is because of concerns around patient care (though it was explained to us that this was not just due to the care our father received).


Cardiology: Consultant’s bedside manner on one occasion was aggressive

I initially phoned the Ambley Green nurse – these nurses have always been very reassuring and have given me a lot of security for example when I rang a respiratory nurse she was at my house within 20 minutes. She could see I was struggling to breathe and offered to call an ambulance but I opted to ask my son to take me in.

At the hospital I was given a bed straightaway on the Respiratory ward but was transferred to the Cardiology ward. While I was there I had a bad breathing episode, the nurse spent two hours helping me to get my breathing back under control.

I cannot fault the treatment they gave me.

However, the consultant’s bedside manner on one occasion was aggressive and did not talk to me, the patient, but to the other people around me.


Lovely nurses but poor doctors

Doctors didn’t seem to believe what I was telling them. Advised me my daughter had a breath holding spell, even though I clearly advised she did not at any point stop breathing/hold her breath before the seizure.

No explanation to what happened or why, also when asked if her urine was normal I advised it wasn’t bit they still didn’t check it, went to GP the next day and a water infection was confirmed.

Would not want to go here again.

The paramedics and ambulance staff on the other hand were brilliant, and all the nurses were lovely. Just need some doctors that listen and want to help rather than just fob people off.


You saved my life

On Friday night the British NHS and the staff and facilities at St Peters Hospotal saved my life. One minute I thought I was going to die – the worst, most debilitating pain I have ever known exploding in my heart.

A few minutes later, after an emergency call from my wonderful wife, the first responder paramedics arrived, calmed me down, gave me reassurance and pain relief. Five minutes later the ambulance and 2 more paramedics came to take me in to hospital. My wife came with me to hold my hand. Yes it was a heart attack.

Whilst this was happening, a cardiology team of at least 6 highly trained staff was being called in. Whether they had been sleeping, eating a meal or watching a film, they dropped everything to assemble in the cardiology lab at St Peters Hospital. They were all there already to greet me off the ambulance with smiles, more reassurances and explanations as to what they were going to be doing.

An hour, one removed clot and three stents later I was in the ward having a cup of tea. The same consultant who came in to perform the operation on the Friday night was there on Saturday morning to talk me through what happened and what needs to happen next.

A few days observation and I can go home with an offer of ongoing complimentary physio, nutrition and lifestyle advice and counselling.

Thank you to all the staff who saved my life. From the people serving the tea and meals, to the cleaners who changed my bed each day, from the radiologers to the nurses, doctors and consultants. Who worked long hours over the Summer Bank Holiday weekend to keep me breathing.

Paul Couchman

Waiting times for ambulance are too long

I was also in Royal Victoria Hospital in Blackpool. Rushed in Christmas afternoon (emergency) because I had trouble breathing with cardial asthma. The paramedics were great and got me breathing properly. I was in 11 days and came out January 2009. But the length of time waiting for treatment was endless. When I was discharged I was waiting from 9.30am till 1pm for my prescription. I couldn’t let my son know the time for nurses if you needed the toilet was disgusting, not so much the nurses fault. The ward I was put in was a locked ward but some of the older people were pressing the buzzer and they wet themselves and were distressed. My biggest complaint is the ambulance wait at Hallamshire Hospital, is the time I have to wait coming home from hospital. The time previous was four hours, 3 1/2 hours time before. They need a better system as they don’t see to people was there first. It was 2 ½ hours last week. I appreciate they are busy but being diabetic I was in the ambulance area and it got there at 12 o’clock after the doctors appointment and it was 3.15 before I got a lift home and I asked three times. It is a must to get this sorted other appointments I go by taxi but very expensive when you go regularly.


Lack of bedside manner at the chest clinic

Nothing about my visit to the northern general hospital chest clinic was a good experience.

The consultant was above an hour and half late for the appointment with me. The consultant was rude, and I felt totally disrespectful to me and my husband. They didn’t once look at me and when my husband tried to talk to them on my behalf, the consultant wanted me to answer the questions even though I was nervous and struggling with my breathing and my husband was there to help communicate on my behalf.

Some of the nursing staff were also quite arrogant and stand-offish. I was truly upset by the whole ordeal when all I needed was a little bit of compassion and reassurance from the medical staff, of which i received none.


Lack of communication around my mother’s death

My 91 year old mother was admitted to St George’s in Wandsworth in July this year. She was weak and suffering from shortness of breath.

Following an unexpected bereavement, my mother had stopped eating. Although she had a lot of support she had reached the stage when she couldn’t eat – a sort of anorexia. Arrangements had been made by the community team for her to see a psychiatrist as a matter of urgency. She was already taking anti depressants, but they wanted to see if anything else could be done. She had also been taking co codamol for a long time, to help with severe back pain.

I was away when my mother was admitted. On my return in mid August, I was aware that my brothers and many other visitors were concerned, so I asked to speak to her Doctor.

This is what emerged:

No arrangements had been made for her to see a psychiatrist. Some communications mix up was blamed.

She was dependent on co-codamol for back pain but in spite of repeated requests by my brothers these were not being prescribed. One brother was massaging her back to try to help her, but nobody seemed to care.

This means that her last days were spent in more pain than was necessary,

Although it seemed clear to me that my mother was dying, the doctor seemed content that her breathing difficulties had been cured and arrangements were being made to move her from the hospital. A very nice resettlement person came to see her that afternoon. I doubted my judgement on her condition. At this stage she had a catheter, she could not speak and was taking minimal amounts of food and drink. She was very weak.

At this stage a psychiatrist and co codamol were promised. I have no idea if the medication was ever given.

The following day my mother died. According to a witness this seemed to surprise the medical staff.

My brother received a call from the coroner to say that the cause of death was unclear. It was pointed out to him that at some stage over the past few days my mother had fallen out of bed. This had not been reported to us.

These are my observations:

If my mother had been a young person, I can’t help thinking that her malnourished state would have been taken much more seriously. This says something about the way the NHS treats older people

Given the IT at our disposal I cannot accept that my mother’s notes, including her need for co-codamol, had not been communicated.

My brothers’ (and other family members) requests for co-codamol were ignored, presumably because nurses did not pass them on to a doctor. My brothers did not understand what seems to be the unwritten rule – that unless you spoke to a doctor, action could not be guaranteed.

Ideally, somebody would have identified my mother’s true condition and had the humanity to warn us and suggest a Hospice. We could have afforded to pay.


Maternity care at Wansbeck hospital

I had my third child last year and have said since that if ever i had another child it would NOT be at Wansbeck.

I felt that the midwifes did not have time for us. I was induced and it was a long process. I was sent in for induction by the consultant and due to loss of water at 37 weeks – 4 days earlier than my original induction date due to high BP because I had been losing water for a couple of days the consultant wanted me in asap.

The midwives could not find anything in my notes about the water loss so seemed to be treating me as if i was been induced for blood pressure. I thought all they had to do was look through my notes properly!

Anyway my baby was born 2 days later, in distress and making a funny noise when breathing. The midwives dismissed this even though he ended up going into special care that night.

When home he continued making these noises and 2 weeks later ended up in the RVI where the doctor picked up on this noise straight away saying it was because he was having problems breathing. A week later he was discharged happy and healthy thankfully.

I feel like Wansbeck really do not listen to anything you have concerns about at all, due to staff shortages. Health care assistants were sent to answer buzzers which needed a midwife’s attention therefore meaning you had to wait longer while she went to get a midwife. I could go on and on, but basically, would not choose this hospital to give birth in again.

dissapointed mum

Appalling lack of care and waiting forever

On Monday evening I took my husband to A & E at Burnley because he was having difficulty breathing. They immediately took him round to a cubicle and gave him oxygen. He had a raft of tests/treatments within an hour, but they said he would have to go to Blackburn as it was classed as an emergency. We arrived there and he was put in a ‘holding’ ward as there were no beds. The first thing they did was remove his drip and things went downhill from there.

He spent 2 days waiting for a bed, during which time he had minimal treatment. Apparently they can’t treat anyone who is not on a ward. (I would call that nonsense). It feels like doctors won’t visit patients if they are not in the ‘right place’ and therefore reduce the number of beds needed by producing a faster turnover. He had xrays done at Burnley, but it took 2 days for Blackburn to decide he had pneumonia. No treatment though – oh no – he wasn’t on a ward.

Then tonight they finally found him a bed in Ward D1. Does no one leave hospital for 48 hours? We took him up there and I am very upset and angry. The ward is ‘pearly gates’. He has been placed with people who are much older and some of whom have obvious dementia. Don’t take me wrong, I accept that there has to be good provision for our elderly population. I will be there myself one day, except my husband is 50 and doesn’t fit in at all (so much for a speedy recovery, if they ever get round to treating him). The side ward he is on smells of excrement and the staff are more than slow. It took one of the nurses 45 minutes just to do general observations on 4 people.

I am absolutely disgusted that a so called brand new, state of the art hospital is so deficient in meeting the needs of its clients. If I was so lacking in my job, I would have been sacked long ago.

I will be visiting tomorrow and asking for him to be transferred back to Burnley, Airedale or any other place that can give him a decent level of care. If not, I will be taking him home.

Next time, if the need arises, I will be taking him to Airedale.