"Too busy chatting to care"

About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital

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My father was admitted to Ward 2 in February of this year having been admitted following a fall on another ward at Stoke Mandeville which resulted in him breaking his hip. He was not operated on for 2 weeks and became extremely frail unable to feed himself or even raise a cup to his lips by the end. He had very little help with this and was dehydrated, and confused. As I lived 120 miles away, I was unable to visit every day. When it was mentioned to one of the ward Sisters that I was concerned that he could not drink by himself I was told "He can do it if he wants". The day before he died 3 weeks following his admission, I arrived on the ward to find him propped up in a chair, he could hardly speak or move. He had a cup of juice in front of him, the cup was the soft type you get from a water dispenser , no lid. He could not raise it to his mouth. He just moaned that he wanted to get back into bed and that sitting hurt his hip. He was fairly unresponsive. I asked a nurse to help me get him back into bed and was told "we will do that later". Six of them were clustered around the desk chatting and laughing away. I suggested that the cup in front of my father was not appropriate and asked whether he was getting help with eating and drinking (he had a red sign above his bed indicating he required help). They didn't know, cared less and continued chatting. A meeting with the doctor revolved around the fact that they wanted him discharged and where was he to go, although it was obvious he wasn't fit to go anywhere. I was phoned the next morning to say he died in the night and that the staff were very surprised. I wasn't.

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Response from Stoke Mandeville Hospital

We are really sorry to hear about your father's experience at our hospital, this is certainly not the standard we expect from our staff or services. Please can we encourage you to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01296 316042 or pals@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk so we can discuss the matter and look into it in more detail. Our sincere condolences to you and your family. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

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