Diagnosis of Early-Onset Pre-eclampsia

I was let down by my local hospital’s antenatal and fetal assessment unit by the way they failed to recognise or take seriously enough my symptoms, or take the urgent action required when I presented with pre-eclampsia at 20 weeks gestation, quickly worsening with mine and my baby’s life becoming in danger over a period of around 2 weeks.

It was my first pregnancy, achieved through IVF after trying to conceive for 3 years. My baby already had growth restriction at this point.

Prior to this stage I’d had 3 severe bleeds, threatened miscarriages during my first trimester, and despite this was still labelled ‘low’ risk.

Ultimately my baby boy was stillborn at 25+1 weeks – an event that is sadly associated with pre-eclampsia.

Whilst I was in hospital, having been in for a month; I spent 2 weeks in this hospital and then I was transferred for specialist fetal-renal obstetric care – which was excellent – at a Women’s hospital who are more used to looking after mothers-to be in similar situations to how I was.

I feel that the staff at the first hospital (my local) did not have the awareness that pre-eclampsia can develop even at this early stage. It seemed to me that they refused to take it seriously, and so correct diagnosis and proper treatment/care was delayed until I finally saw an out-of-hours GP at my local hospital, who immediately understood the severity of my condition; my blood pressure had peaked at 170-180/ 100 by then, and proceeded to get me admitted that night.


Mam’s treatment

Have to say from the start that the majority of the staff, especially one doctor and a lot of the nurses were brilliant compared to the treatment my Mam received in University Hospital Durham.

Mam was transferred to the renal unit from there in early June, she was there for 6 days all told. On the third day her condition rapidly deteriorated (Saturday), on the Sunday we got a call at lunchtime from the hospital (which was a nightmare to get through to by telephone by the way, even the hospital room telephone which you pay for was not working and the ward telephone was “off the hook for some reason”).

The Doctor who had seen Mam on Sunday wanted to see her family before he finished his rounds at 2pm. We immediately went to the hospital, and waited until around 3pm + before the Dr decided to grace us.

What I heard said, in front of Mam (a 79yr old decent, lovely woman) was quite frankly totally unnecessary and out of order. To quote, “the chances of death between hospital and home are high”. This was said in front of my Mam, in front of myself, brother and disabled sister. It was more or less said that he had stopped all treatment as “it is not necessary”, i.e. it’s a waste of time.

Mam died only 3 days from being released from this hospital on the Tuesday and I hope to never have to see any of my family go through what she went through and be spoken to and about like this ever again.

Even district nurses who attended afterwards at home were shocked that she was sent home, more or less to die (which we did not really realise at the time) without proper medical interventions in place.

It is about time that the NHS treated older people with proper respect and dignity and stopped treating them as an inconveinience.


What happened to my Mother?

In 2008 my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 renal failure and as she needed to visit a renal specialist every 6-8 weeks and had no way of getting to her appointments on her own both my mother and I decided that it would be easier for me to manage if she moved closer to me and my husband. My mother was also an insulin dependant diabetic largely house bound due to arthritis in her left knee. She was such a determined positive person. We moved my mother from Bolton to Cleveleys in Dec 2007. She loved her new home and both my husband and I spent numerous very enjoyable hours caring for her in her new home.

Around June 2008 my mother’s health started to deteriorate She was admitted to Blackpool general hospital and that is when the issues started. I had to request meetings with specialist to ascertain what they were proposing to do with my mother. It seemed that every time I wanted further information about my mother’s condition people were reluctant to talk to me. When I met with ward doctors the information provided was sketchy. At no stage did any of the ward doctors or specialists tell me that my mother was seriously ill and had only a short time to live. When I enquired what was happening with my mother a ward doctor stated they had taken the decision to insert stents in her bladder.

Days after her operation, I had to chase for information again. The doctor who agreed to see me stated they had made an attempt to put a stent in her left kidney but there was a blockage but had managed to get a stent into her right kidney. My mother went through rehabilitation at Rossall before returning home. No after care instructions were given to us regarding my mum. When my mother returned home she was so happy to be home and was fine for a while. However, approx two months after she returned the problems started again. This time the problem was fluid retention. (She was almost twice the size) The district nurse organised for her to be re-admitted to hospital again this time due to the excessive fluid retention, she was also having problems with her breathing.

The intention this time was to get rid of the fluid quickly in order to aid her breathing. My mothers weight also plummeted. In two weeks she went from 9stone to seven and a half stone and looked gaunt and tired. Again no after care was discussed and she was transferred to the rehabilitation hospital in Bispham. Staff there were in the main ok. However, I was totally shocked when I was informed that my mother had haemorrhage and they had chosen to do nothing until I insisted they refer her to a Gynaecologist. I am led to believe that a Gynaecologist at Blackpool saw her in October and that the feedback was that there was nothing to worry about.

My mum returned home in October and settled back home. Again no further information regarding my mother’s condition was supplied. In fact her GP took her off the antibiotics because he was unsure why they had been prescribed. In the last week of November my mother started to complain about feeling unwell and developed a urine infection. The doctor was called he said she would be ok and prescribed another dose of antibiotic however, my mothers health got worse and there was a large amount of blood in her urine. She was in absolute agony complaining of pains across her stomach. When I held her she was wincing with the pain. I called the doctor but as the pain was getting worse I called for the ambulance. On the day she was admitted to hospital again she was due to see the Kidney specialist so I felt she would be in the best place. However, when the nurse in A&E rang to tell the specialist that my mother had been admitted the feedback was to call him if she got any worse.

We arrived in A & E at around 10.00 and Mum was x -rayed. We were told at around 12.00 that she needed a special type of antibiotics. She was then moved to the main A& E section no antibiotics administered. Again at 18.00 that day when she was being moved to a ward the nurse stated that she needed antibiotics from the main chemist but that the ward would get it and administer it. At 20.00 I was sat with my mum who had been placed in a side room. She was in absolute agony at this stage. She had eaten nothing all day. I went to find a Doctor and was told he was doing the rounds and would be with me shortly. When he arrived, he examined my mother and said he thought she had an infection – he made no mention of antibiotics so I assumed that he had the notes and the antibiotics were on the way – how wrong was I. I was unaware but she had wet the bed as she had been unable to get to a commode and had been left without suitable under garments. The doctor called the nurses in to get the bed changed. I was so tired and thought she was in the best place. I kissed her and said I would see her the following day.

When I arrived the following day at around 15.00 they had moved my mum to the main holding ward – again no one was on hand to provide information about her condition. When I got to her bed I knew something was wrong – she was drifting in and out talking to herself and repeating herself. When I asked her a question she would find it difficult to answer and her answers did not make sense. My mother was a competent, alert and often independent person who knew her own mind, this was not my Mother. When I called the nurse over to ask why after they had been told to give her antibiotics yesterday there was none being administered, he told me to wait by reception while he administered the intravenous antibiotic and that he would also insert a catheter. I told him that this was not my mother she had deteriorated drastically – his response was really is she not normally like this. No one seems to be listening. They immediately moved my mum to another ward in the hospital. It was a busy ward rather noisy but I accepted that my mum was in the best place and would get the best care. Not so. She had not eaten for two days now and I managed to get her to eat some ice cream before I left for home praying that everything would be ok the following day. I tried to explain to my husband the state my mum was in but even he found it difficult to comprehend because my mum has been extremely alert for her age and she knew what she wanted.

When I rang the hospital the following morning I experience yet more defensive feedback. All I asked was how my mum was doing. I was told she was asking for bananas in the night. I said it doesn’t sound like my mum because she doesn’t like bananas. They also said she had been asking for my husband and me. I said you should have called me. When I got to the hospital they had her sat out of bed in a side chair. She was clearly uncomfortable and was trying to adjust herself in the chair pulling herself up. She did not know who we were. We tried to get her to take some water but she was so agitated she didn’t know what to do for the best. I asked the ward nurse what was happening and was reluctantly told that the infection has taken hold but that she would come through it. We then asked that she be checked to see if she was responding. Again this was done reluctantly but we were assured that she was responding. I asked if they would put her back into bed, as she would be able to settle. This they did. It seemed they had attempted to feed her as her mouth was covered in food. I wiped her mouth with her flannel and she seemed to settle. I held her hand and stroked her face and she smiled. I was told a Doctor would be called if her condition worsened. I told the ward nurse that as my mum had settled I would see him tomorrow and he said ok – Later that evening I received a call from the hospital to say my mum was not responding.

I truly believe that staff at the hospital have failed not only my mother but also my family and me. I am still unsure exactly what went on what treatment why what happened – no one has had the decency to tell me. A friend of mine told me to pay for access to the specialist and I will get as much information as I need but the advice came to late – my mother died the following day – I need to know what happened – I will never be able to lay my mum to rest until I know what happened and why my mother did not receive the treatment she needed when her needed it most. I know some errors were made and I need to know why!


The Liverpool care plan.

I previously wrote a recent article entitled ‘Upset by communications about my brothers care’, but I now feel compelled to add another event to this which happened after my brother was transferred from Woodpecker ward to Saturn ward at the Swindon Great Western Hospital. I subsequently wrote to the chief executive of the hospital, and intend to do so yet again, after I have recovered from the shock of what has happened, and done all that I need to in the aftermath.

My 76 year old brother had been ill for about 3 1/2 weeks with pneumonia and signs of renal failure as his passing of water although it had shown signs of slight improvement had not recovered any further so we were told by the doctor on his rounds last Friday.What happened next was unbelievable as whilst my wife and 14 year old autistic son were around my brothers bed side, the doctor said to him, ‘we would have expected your kidneys to have responded to the antibiotics and other drugs that we have been giving you, but there has been little or no improvement and so we consider that it is pointless continuing with the treatment, and so we will not put any more tubes in to you, as your condition will gradually worsen and all we can do is make you as comfortable as possible’.

This as you can well imagine was extremely frightening for my brother, and alarming for my wife and my son.

The doctor then took us to the patient day room to add to what he had already said to my brother, and said that my brother was now on what was referred to as ‘The Liverpool care plan’ which means that any further treatment does not happen from that point onwards and is supposed to be made as comfortable as possible until the inevitable happens. I felt like they might have well have said that to save the cost of any further treatment, we have decided not to bother.

I found this decision shocking and appalling, as every deserves the right to receive treatment for as long as possible no matter what their age may be, just in case they do happen to turn the corner and recover.

Sadly my brother lost the battle for life that evening, but the ordinary nursing staff were really excellent, and are in no way to blame for what I now perceive as being cost cutting especially when it comes to the elderly. If you have an elderly relative in hospital I would consider making it clear that you wish their treatment to continue until there is no chance of recovery, and I would reject the Liverpool care plan.


Being a carer for my husband, on dialysis

I live in North London and am a carer for my husband, who was taken ill in April 2010. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and suffered Renal failure in March 2011; he now dialyses 3 times a week.

The specialist Myeloma nurse was superb, giving support to myself and my husband telephoning me at home; this was not at a local hospital. My husband transferred to the local hospital in May 2011 to continue his dialysis.

The 12 journeys a day are exhausting and there is no help with transport, this is one of the hardest physical aspects and also very frightening if I am not well as it is imperative that my husband has his dialysis.

The emotional aspect is devastating; being isolated, feeling very alone and unsupported; despite various agencies out there, they don’t seem to address one’s needs.


Pleased with my recent hospital stay

I was admitted to Whiston Hospital at 5. 30am in the morning with renal problems. The staff were efficient, helpful, caring and friendly. From my admittance to my temporary discharge I have received nothing but the best treatment and care from every department and ward I have been in. All staff from Surgeons, Doctors, Nursing, Carers, Auxilliary Staff, Cleaning Staff, Chaplaincy etc. , have been efficient, friendly, helpful and most of all caring. Nothing is worse than feeling alone and incapable but a friendly smile and a caring look is priceless. There are times when you feel I could do this differently but my philosophy is let the experts do their job.

Mo the travel expert

Confusing information means I don’t know what to do

I went to the doctors and he diagnosed me with a rectal prolapse. My doctor referred me to a consultant and I chose to attend Leigh Infirmary, Leigh. My initial appointment was pretty quick and the consultant confirmed the prolapse. He then arranged for me to have a sigmoidoscopy, which I attended.

From this point everything went down hill. I received the appointment for signmoidoscopy and attended on the due date. The nurses didn’t have my details/appointment and apologised for the mix up. They said they could do but I would need a full anaemia, which I agreed to. Several hours later I had the sigmoidoscopy, which was the most painful experience ever. I had to scream at the consultant to stop as I could no longer stand the pain. I received no pain medication or sedation prior to this procedure. I was in pain for several weeks and became house bound.

I then received two appointments – 1 for Aintree and 1 for Wigan. I didn’t understand why I had received two. I telephoned the hospital and they didn’t know either and told me to attend both. I attended the 1st appointment at Aintree and it was a nurse. She asked questions and she was very polite but she failed to deliver on her promises. She promised to organise the operations with Mr Scaife and cancel the appointment at Wigan, she promised it would be quick as I was in pain. She cancelled the Wigan appointment but weeks later, still no sign of appointment with Mr Scaife. I telephoned every day and eventually I received an appointment. I went to Mr Scaife early November and he was fantastic. He agreed to operate and arranged for me to have pre op test.

I received appointment and attended pre op tests at Aintree today and what another mess. Firstly they didn’t have me down and then they remembered the anaesthetist had telephoned to ask if I had arrived. They told me to take a seat. Two hours later I saw the anaesthetist who had NO medical records to refer to, so I had to tell her about my history. I was then asked to go back in to the waiting room for the remainder of the tests. Another two hours passed and still nothing. I was then told to go to my doctors and ask for a note to refer me to Leigh Hospital to have a spirometry test. When I arrived home I rang the doctors who told me this was not right. It was up to Aintree to arrange. Please help I am 79 years old and now don’t know what to do. In addition, I have now got a front prolapse, which I was informed they would do at the same time as the renal but the consultant told me that someone else needs to do this.