"Horrifying experience at Queen Charlottes"

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

(as a relative),

I want to share the experience of my mothers stay at an inpatient ward in Queen Charlottes Hospital in Hammersmith. What she was subjected to was in my opinion one of the most disgusting and inhumane experiences in her life. She was in recovery on an inpatient ward after an operation. The surgeon was absolutely fantastic, and the operation was a success. The aftercare however was something I wouldn’t put my pet dog through.

She was subjected to lack of care and due attention by a particular nurse and to call her a nurse would be a stretch of the imagination. My mother was kept on morphine and sleeping for large amounts of her time in the ward. My mother overheard her speaking and belittling her to the other nurses and saying- I don’t understand people how have legs and the means to walk, and chose not to. She then instructed other nurses to not walk my mother to the shower room as it was too much effort to use the harness, and to just give her a bed bath. When the care assistants asked,shouldn’t we walk her to the shower? , they were instructed by the nurse to do as they were told.

Being an independent woman, and always on her feet, she found the morphine overbearing and just needed a little help to walk. From walking up to the shower room before her operation, she was left weaker and unable to walk just 7 days later from lack of fluids, food (from not being able to settle her vomiting) and constantly being given morphine as a panacea for all her requests for relief.

My mother then had a UTI and asked for antibiotics, as the pain was unbearable. The pain was so severe, that my mother was shouting out her own mothers name whilst in pain. We then called a nurse, who sent a care assistant 20 mins later. They said they couldn’t do anything as it was beyond their jurisdiction. They then called the same nurse in question and asked my mum why didn’t she just have the morphine when she was told earlier. My mum responded that she wasn’t in pain then. She then asked how long the results of her urine test would take to come back. The nurse completely disregarded this and said, you should have taken the morphine when we told you. My mother asked her, how long the morphine would last as she was given 2. 5ml earlier, to which the nurse responded, I don’t know, we just give it when you need and everyone is different. My mother asked what time the last sub cut was given, to which the nurse responded I don’t know, I’ll just give you another 2. 5ml. When asked shouldn’t she investigate the cause of the pain, she responded, no, pain is our first attention, the rest just follows.

Finally, before her transfer to Charing Cross hospital, my mother was inspected by a doctor, who was shocked to see that her stitches had not been removed as instructed three days prior.

My mother then said that the wound should be dressed as it starting oozing and seeping as she was on blood thinners, and the heal time takes longer. The nurse who was fully aware responded that there is no need for a dressing, it will stop itself. As a consequence, her nightdress stuck to her skin.

On transferring her to Charing Cross, the nurse and doctor were horrified at her treatment, wounds, and the fact there she was not given her afternoon medicine on handover. They said it was fundamental nursing to dress a wound to stop infections. My mother then burst into tears, and she was consoled by the doctor and nurse in charge, and was assured that her care was now the upmost priority. My mother said she wasn’t lying as she wants to walk and get better, and proof was there for everyone when the physiotherapist in Charring Cross helped my mum walk with a frame in that week for 3 days in a row.

As a nurse with 45 years experience, and working and paying tax in the UK for 40 years, she was shocked at her ordeal. Is this the standard bearing care and support from our ‘flagship’ NHS?

My mother has recently passed away due to Cancer which she has been fighting for the last eight months. It is upsetting and horrendous that she had to face such an ordeal in her last few weeks of life. My feeling is that I am utterly disgusted that this person is allowed to practice as a nurse, let alone have verbal contact with patients. People are in hospital because they are sick or trying to recover, away from their families and familiar surroundings. To have to be faced with someone who calls themselves a nurse that is in my view inconsiderate, with no empathy, sympathy or even a shred of emotion should not even be allowed. She is in the wrong profession!

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Response from PALS manager, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is extremely concerned to read the comments you have shared about your mother's care at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital and we sincerely apologize for the distress that was caused prior to her death.

You have raised serious and significant issues with regard to patient care and the Trust needs to be able to investigate, address and respond to the comments you have made about one of our nurses. To enable us to do this we hope you will contact our PALS service by email pals@imperial.nhs.uk or telephone 020 3312 7777 and ask to speak to Christine Cornell, PALS Manager.

We look forward to hearing from you and would like to assure you that your concerns are being taken extremely seriously.

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