My mother’s condition is deteriorating

My mother who is 86 has slight dementia and is on medication. She was doing quite well and self caring. She recently had a bad relapse and the GP thought it could be a water infection and antibiotics were given at home. However, her condition deteriorated and she was and still is in Sunderland Royal. Since admission she has had several falls and antibiotics have ceased. We have requested a further water test on several occasions and I feel this is being delayed. She should also be receiving immodium and very plain diet as her tummy is easily upset. I have told the staff this on several occasions and I found out on my visit recently that they were unaware and had given her sausage for breakfast and didn’t realise why she couldn’t eat it. As a result, they have her in a side ward in incontinence pants and she seems to me to be loosing weight fast and has the runs. I think this is partly due to no one knowing the basics of her diet or time to take her to the loo.

She talked to me and was so concerned about the situation as a whole. I took her to the loo and put clean stuff on and she seemed so much better. Although still sometimes confused, I do not think she is as bad as some of the staff make out. In my opinion, she is not receiving the basic nursing care or nutrition she needs. As a little extra she has also now lost glasses and a bed jacket. I think she should be helped to the loo as she is unsteady on her feet, and she has never needed incontinence pads in her life. I feel this side of things is due to wrong food, not being fed the proper diet. I do not feel that I can accept any excuses for this situation as it seems to me all stem from patient care and basic nursing and nutrition knowledge. We all thought she was being cared for in the right place but I feel seriously in doubt about this now.


Recent experience at Homerton antenatal unit

Yesterday I had my first midwife appointment and first scan for my first pregnancy.

The staff were extremely knowledgeable (in particular a younger trainee working with the midwife to ask me questions, on every point I raised she was able to provide useful extra information, about nutrition, mental health, when to come to hospital, other sources of support) and caring (in particular the way the nurse dealt with my fear of needles while taking blood).


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

Ensuring patients get enough to eat

Listening to the radio this a.m. re the unfortunate patient who was unable to feed herself in hospital I was reminded of a time earlier this year.

My neighbour, a lovely lady in her late 80s, had fallen in her bedroom. Emergency services were called and she was taken to Colchester General Hospital and admitted to a ward in Gainsborough Wing.

A few days after this we visited our friend in hospital. Hers was the only bed without a TV/telephone. On enquiry we were told that this equipment was expensive and there were none available. So the patient was unable to contact her brother who himself is in a Nursing Home, nor her daughter, to let them know what had happened.

Here I would add, there were extremely elderly patients all around our friend – most of whom were asleep and certainly would not be able at any time to operate the TV/telephone anyway. Why they could not have put one of those patients at our friend’s station, and put her into a station which had the equipment, I do not know.

Anyway, around came the tea trolley and our friend was asked if she’d like a biscuit – yes she would she answered. It came in a vacuum sealed packet which was handed to her by a smiling lady who then went on about her business.

I watched our friend pick up the biscuit packet, look at it, fiddle with it, and then put it down again. Her poor arthritic hands could not manage the task of tearing the packet open so I did it for her.

Fleetingly I wondered how much of the food she had been given she had been able to eat. But she was due to be discharged in a couple of days and her son visited every night, so I let the subject alone – then.

I’d like to make a suggestion: could not the Hospital Friends be asked to visit wards and help with the feeding of patients too elderly/disabled/or whatever to cope with this on their own? I know full well it is not in the remit of nursing staff or the catering staff or any other it seems, so are these poor patients to lie there starving for the duration of their stay?


My sister’s experience of the liverpool care pathway

Earlier this year, my sister was admitted to an Ward 5 with a stroke and she was not given a clot buster as part of her treatment. Approx 3 weeks later, the relatives were offered the opportunity to remove all her treatments including hydration and nutrition. At this stage, they refused the offer. She was not offered speech therapy nor physiotherapy – not even for her affected arm which was becoming very contracted. In late May, a progress meeting was held where it was decided, in my view illegally, that her treatment should be stopped. However, because I queried the legality of this, they checked the Mental Capacity Act and found that it was illegal. In spite of this, the consultant said they would not give her any antibiotics, should she need them. I wrote to the medical director, the chief executive and the consultant requesting a meeting, which they ignored.

Instead soon after, they transferred her to a local Nursing Home where, in my opinion, she was illegally put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. She was not dying and the relatives were not informed until after she was put on the LCP – we were not informed until after she died 15 days later. I feel we were lied to and deceived by the nurses and the medical staff and especially by the doctor I spoke to after my sister’s death. I believe she tried to fudge the course of events and muddy the waters by eternally quoting the importance of her “professional Judgement”.

I am finding it incredibly difficult to come to terms with the loss of my sister but importantly that she died alone, because we were not told that she was put on the LCP. I believe the senior staff at the hospital and all the people who I feel deliberately deceived us at the Nursing Home should be ashamed of their lack of professionalism.

My sister was in Airedale Hospital for almost 4 months. She did not have her nails cut and they were long and thick. When I asked if it was possible to cut her nails, I was told by a care assistant that they had to go on a course to learn how to cut nails and anyway they didn’t have time. When I next visited her nails were cut but only on one hand and not her toe nails. Her mouth was in a disgraceful state with huge white spots, I wondered whether this was thrush. I cleaned her mouth when I could, but it was very sore. On the positive side, some of the nurses were lovely and the ward sister was also very supportive, albeit reticent about my sister’s care plan.

In my opinion, PALS was positively useless, as were most of the agencies who purport to be on the patients side. I did not receive any help or useful advice. It is a shambles. This is a short version of what has been a complete nightmare.

carme miranda

Poor Standards of Nursing Care at Weston General Hospital (WAHT)

Where to start? My mother, a formidable and highly intelligent 88 year old, was admitted to Weston General as a precaution. Unusually, we found her reluctant to use her buzzer (when it was within her reach!) to call for assistance and wondered why. It seemed to us that whenever the family approached staff members with concerns or questions, apart from two occasions, we thought the responses varied between total disinterest and borderline hostility.

My mother died 10 days after admission and we requested a copy of her medical records. I feel these records merely added to our distress in that in my opinion they showed:

Missed and late medication; Insufficiency of fluid intake; failure to bleep doctors when required; insufficient nutrition; lack of cannula care; cannula left in place for 48 hours too long; failure to adequately assess mobility; failure to reassess risk of malnutrition; failure to address nausea; failure to complete a full falls assessment; failure to chase crucial test results; failure to adequately manage diabetes (including a number of missed insulin doses).

I could go on – but not without discussing matters that I feel would be just too personal for my mother.

Add to the above the fact that we had to address one problem or another at almost every visiting time and I am sure you will get the picture.

Much of the interaction we witnessed between the nursing staff and my mother I felt was, at best, patronising and, at worst, curt. I think communication with the family was abysmal to say the least.

My sister and I have since, on two occasions, met with a Matron and the Ward Sister. I have to say, I felt we encountered an attitude that almost mirrored that of their staff – patronising, evasive and hostile. We still do not know precisely what happened to our mother during her final hours. The medical records do not tell us and the staff either cannot or will not say.


Wythenshawe Hospital Food

Past experience has told me that hospital is the very last place for food to make you healthy and the last time I was there was no exception. I was in Wythenshawe for surgery to a hand injury but, since the nerves and tendons would still be there several days later, I spent from Wednesday morning until Friday afternoon waiting to be operated on and regularly being relegated further down the list as more urgent cases came in. This meant I was usually unable to order a vegan dish – or indeed any dish – for my dinner as it was too late to place the order by the time I discovered I would not be operated on each day.

In the time I was there I had only 2 proper meals – having to settle for visitor brought chocolate and dry white toast kindly provided by the nurses the rest of the time.

The meals I did have were a baked potato with baked beans, which I disliked and was unable to manage much of, and a curry which was served with white rice and had only a couple of small pieces of carrot and a few peas by way of vegetables. The only green I saw was the dull green of the curry, hardly any vegetables were served.

How are people supposed to get well without the protein, vitamins and minerals to help them heal? Proper vegan food is suitable for everyone, is easy and cheap to make, and carries the nutrients for a healthy body, without the meat and dairy which can have such disastrous effects on health.

Thankfully since I went vegan 14 years ago I have never been ill, visiting hospital only twice in that time, once for this injury and previously to be sterilised. I am grateful that my healthy diet means it will probably be many years before I need go into hospital again, but I cannot help having concerns for others, particularly long term patients, being fed so few vegetables. I can only hope that things have improved recently.

Sue H

Lack of care for my father’s pancreatic cancer

My fathers health had deteriorated and for him to have chemo he needed to build his strength up.

The hospital did not offer intravenous nutrition and supplied him with fortisip etc. They gave us a prognosis of 2-3 months. Chemo would only be an option if my father’s strength and nutrition improved, so why didn’t the hospital provide this care? Our opinion is and still remains that the reason my father wasn’t given the nutrients and strength building help is because the NHS had no intention of providing Chemo as ” it would only give him an extra week or Month to live” quoted by one of the doctors on Holly ward King George Hospital. No man has the right to deny anyone to live, regardless of time. If this was royalty, would they be denied any care?

Also he had his stomach drained as it was filling with fluid. No one within the hospital said that this would be a common occurrence and he would require the drain every 2-3 weeks. No provision was put into place for future drainage. We were never informed of how much was drained or what his billirubin levels were.

A week or so after coming home my family called 999 to have him admitted to hospital to have his stomach drained. He went to Queens hospital in Romford. In the MAU ward a young member of staff tried to perform the drain and failed miserably, causing my father a lot of pain. They didn’t check where the fluid was building up, didn’t consult anyone and then called a junior doctor, who then performed the drain.

This in itself seemed a shambles. They didn’t have all the necessary instruments, and laid towels on the side of the bed to collect the fluid, drained too quickly and my fathers blood pressure dropped therefore his haemoglobin levels dropped. My father was left with a wet bed and towels.

I asked to see the notes of when the drain was done, and nowhere in the notes did either of the 2 individuals correctly record the version of events. It was a doctor on Bluebell ward that showed me the notes. My father spent the next 10 days in hospital, why? I am, as is my family deeply disgusted with the lack of treatment and dignity my father has received from the very beginning.

We feel that the NHS has written my father off, due to his age. I am deeply ashamed of the NHS and the lack of duty of care provided. My father has a basic human right to proper treatment which we feel he has not received.

Up until today no one has asked for a dietician to assess my father, there still isn’t a process in place for drainage and he hasn’t been given any physio. What kind of system is this?

It is the opinion of a few individuals that this is a form of neglect. My father has a right to the best treatment available, who are the NHS to deny him that?

There are some staff on Holly ward at King George hospital who seem to have no people skills and are blatantly rude.

We have kept a diary of all conversations and procedures since we found out about my fathers illness.


I got MRSA

I contracted MRSA at Bedford Hospital after an operation last summer.

This site is a waste of space. Probably because it is vetted by the hospital.

Can give a lot more stories about treatment over the years if I thought for one second it would make any difference.


Recently being diagnosed with Ceoliac disease.

After having plucked up the courage to donate blood after numerous years, I was found to have a low iron content in my blood this followed several blood tests and a biospy where I was diagnosed with Ceoliac disease. My lifestyle is now completely different and with the help of the Nutrition and Dietics department the whole scenario is becoming more easily understood.