"Lack of care and attention after major spinal..."

About: Queen's Medical Centre

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My 18yr old son was admitted for a planned spinal operation on Saturday 10th August. He was on NSPU immediately after his operation for approximately 36hrs before being moved to ward D8. Saturday-morphine ran out in the middle of the night, took 20 mins plus for nurse to arrive in the first place before ordering more morphine. Sunday-disturbed and confused patient on NSPU that required a nurse with him at all times, at the expense of the other patients in the bay. Patient was aggressive and verbally abusive and family members of other patients in the area complained to nurses. In the middle of the night, patient was left unattended and approached my son (who was sleeping) rattled his bed and removed blood pressure monitor off his finger but was thankfully restrained by security and police before anything else could take place. Whilst we don't blame the nurses for this situation, the care this patient needed from the nurses was undoubtedly to the detriment of the other five patients on this high dependency ward. Monday-taken for CT scan as suspected infection. When back on the ward and hooked back up to drip, drip unit started smoking and then flames appeared out of the back of the unit which family member had to blow out. Moved to D8. White board with information above bed not filled in so confusion over whether my son was allowed food or drink or not. Physio visited during the day but told my son she did not have any time to help him out of bed. Morphine drip ran out approximately 6:20pm which a nurse came and acknowledged and said more would be ordered. Despite asking on numerous occasions where the morphine was and for an update, the morphine did not arrive for another 2 hours, by which time my son was yet again in considerable pain. My husband complained to a senior staff member who was incredibly frosty with her response and questioned whether my son was using his morphine pump too much, despite this being prescribed by the pain team and being on a timer to be used every five minutes. Having left the hospital with my daughter for a couple of hours she returned to find both my son and husband extremely upset and still waiting for the pain relief. After the incident on Sunday night, my husband and I decided it was in our sons best interest to be with him at all times. This begs the question of how my son would have been looked after without myself and my husband being there. Whilst I understand the ward was chronically understaffed, this should not be at the detriment of the patients in their care. The majority of the nurses were lovely and did a fantastic job especially those on NSPU.

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Response from Queen's Medical Centre

I’m sorry to hear that your son’s experience in our care was not what we would wish it to be. I would like to reassure you that staffing levels on D8 are not a chronic issue. Although we are currently actively recruiting to this area, we are still maintaining safe staffing levels. I would welcome the opportunity to better understand and address each of your concerns and would invite you to please contact me directly via email to anne.scott2@nuh.nhs.uk or via our Patient Advice and Liaison Service team on PALS@nuh.nhs.uk Anne Scott, Senior Nurse (Clinical Lead) for Musculoskeletal and Neurosciences Directorate & Digestive Diseases and Thoracics Directorate.

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