"LCP without agreement or knowledge"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Gateshead)

This was given to a close family member my Nan without discussion or information. After being admitted to hospital following a fall which necessitated hip replacement she contracted a number of hospital super bugs at the wound site resulting in the wound bursting open. She endured a further operation to wash the site out. Without water and nourishment and given a cocktail of antibiotics with only a mouthful of water to swallow them she suffered massive weight loss and became weaker by the day. Her table was moved away from her bed, her alarm cord often wound around the chair and out of reach even though she was bed bound at that stage. Our family were asked not to bring in food or drink - Although she was hungry, no choice of food offered only what was left as she was placed at the end of the corridor which she could not tolerate but tried to as she was so hungry. Even the fortified drinks which helped began to arrive in one flavour only which made her sick. We complained and were told they had no others. When she asked for milk, she was told they had ran out of it. She had unexplained bruising on her chest, none of the staff could explain how it had happened although asked on 3 separate occasions to take into consideration staff changes and shift patterns. Shortly before her death her 16yr old great grandson raised the alarm as she was vomitting - no one came, so he cleaned it up. 2 days before her death I was told she was doing well and improving; she'd been helped out of bed and sat in a chair. (She didn't look like she was improving to me) I was told by the head nurse she had gasses in her abdomen which would reasbsorb. 20 minutes later I was told by the surgical team head she had a bowel perforation and if she didn't respond to antibiotics she would die quite quickly as she had 48 hour window to turn things around - I was told it was a 5% -10% chance, then the antibiotics would be withdrawn. They refused to operate and said they did not know where the tear was? I asked if their cocktail of tablets without food and water could have done this - there was no response or their numerous colonoscopies. I begged them to feed her intravenously which was refused also. Less than 30 hours later I got a call from my family to come in as she was breathing funny and unconscious, When I got there I found a syringe driver in place and well under way - Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) Although I did not know what it was at that time. We had to look it up after her death which was less than 12 hours later as we heard its name for the very first time that late afternoon. Nobody told us what it was, what to expect, or gave us time to say goodbye, her religious beliefs were not even taken into account. I could not believe we sat talking to her the previous night without pain and although weak she was perfectly coherent

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Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

We are sorry for the way you and your family feel about the circumstances surrounding your grandmother’s death. Since this has been raised with the Ombudsman, it would be inappropriate for the Trust to comment further at this stage.

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