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!