"Poor Treatment"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

Anything else?

When my mother was told she had gastric cancer we wanted to speak to a specialist. We were ushered to a small room with a hand basin, no chairs and told to wait. The specialist did not appear, and a lady whom could barely speak English arrived and started to go through her medical records. I informed her with respect we needed to speak directly with the specialist, whom I was told "was busy." We waited. When the specialist arrived she said, Well, really there is little we can do, it would perhaps be better for you just to go home and do nothing at all. In other words, my mother was dying. Never at any time were any of us offered a chair to sit down and we all remained standing. When asking questions, it become apparent the specialist could not give satisfactory replies, when we questioned further, the specialist admitted she was a Lung Cancer Specialist not a stomach Cancer Specialist. Infact, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital did not have a specialist at all for Stomach Cancer. This was in the November and my mother passed away in the March of the following year. The Stomach Cancer Specialist started I believe in the April. Also my mother was admitted to Hospital 3 weeks before she died, she had Pneumonia and in all the time from the November to the March, my sister and myself nursed our mother at home never did she have bed sores until she came into hospital, you also dropped her and she fell to the floor, even though you had been told she could not manage to get to the toilet and could not walk, when we complained about all the bruising to her legs you said that we should make our mother do things and not give up on her. We had nursed her for four months at home, we had taken her for accupuncture which helped relieve her pain, we had also taken her to the Nuffield Hospital in Jesmond to see if there was anything we could do and paid for this service, so I have to say, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital badly let my mother down. A truly wonderful lady, and I use the word Lady in the fullest of terms. If you had been honest from the beginning and told us you no longer had a Gastric Consultant we would have asked to attend another hospital in the beginning, but you hid this fact from us, that he had gone back home and you put us in to talk to other medical staff who were not qualified in that field, so when we found out months later it was too late for my mother and that put enormous guilt and stress upon us, that everything that could have perhaps been done had not. I am sorry, you will probably try and get rid of this review, but I do not have very good memories of your Hospital and can only hope that you have changed.

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Dear Mrs Oliver Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experiences with your mother and please accept my condolences on your loss. Although we cannot remove reviews from NHS Choices, I would not wish to do so as it is important that we learn from all experiences, however good or bad and we do pride ourselves on providing the best possible care to our cancer patients. Clearly, that has not been the case in your experience and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to you and your family for any distress caused. Given the complexity and the variety of issues you refer to within your review, it would not be appropriate for me to get into these issues in this forum due to patient confidentiality. However, should you wish to meet to discuss the issues further, I would be very happy to organise this. If you would like to do so, can I ask you to contact our PALS team on 0800 953 0667 who will make all of the arrangements. I would strongly encourage you to do this, if you feel able, as it is only by learning from your experience that we can make things right for other families. With very best wishes and I do hope to hear from you soon. Carolyn Harper Head of Cancer Services

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