"Don't come here for care if you are old or its the..."

About: Newham General Hospital

My granddad was admitted to the hospital by ambulance after being found unresponsive. Unfortunately for him, he was admitted on a Saturday and just before a bank holiday. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and spent the weekend in a hospital ward with an oxygen mask and antibiotics. My family were eventually able to speak to a Consultant 3 days after his admission (after the bank holiday of course!) and this was only possible at the insistence of a family friend who is a medical professional. My granddad was a diabetic, he was unconscious but moving his legs and of a slim build. He was therefore at high risk for developing pressure ulcers. However, no immediate action was taken by anyone caring for him. He was eventually given an air mattress on Monday afternoon after developing two sores on his feet. The two ulcers were not recorded on the ward charts as they should have been. Why was this? In any event, my granddad’s condition remained stable but critical. Attempts were made to fit a tube through his nose and down his throat for his medication and food but it was clear that this was causing him great distress. We were assured that they had succeeded on the third attempt. However, he still remained incredibly distressed. During my last visit with him, I was only able to be with him for 10 minutes as I could not cope with the pain he was in (I am pregnant and did not want to cause distress to my unborn child). His screams could be heard outside the main doors of the ward and past the nurses’ station but no-one seemed to care. I have never heard my granddad raise his voice but my last memory of him will be of him lying in his hospital bed, mouth covered with blood sores and oral thrush and screaming out in pain. Did anyone help him? Did anyone try and calm his distress? No. We were not even given oral sponges regularly to moisten his mouth despite the fact that he had had no food or drink for 7 days. The nurses were insensitive and rude anyway so asking them for anything was out of the question – unless you wanted a tirade of abuse for caring about your loved one. My granddad passed away 7 days after being admitted. The question I have for the nurses and doctors who treatment my granddad are – if that was your father or grandfather, would you have left them screaming out in pain so loudly? Would you have let them develop pressure ulcers on their feet the way my granddad did? Would you have been satisfied if they had lay in a hospital bed for three days before being seen? I accept my granddad was very unwell and that his time to leave us had arrived. However, just because he was old and unwell, surely the care he received should still not have been as appalling as it was. Surely he deserved to die with some dignity. The nurses showed no compassion. They had no interest in caring for the patients. Iam appalled and disgusted by what I have seen over the time my granddad was there. I would not wish such indignity on my worst enemy.

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Response from Newham General Hospital

We would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the poor care that your granddad received whilst he was under our care at Newham. There are many points that you have raised here which concerns us, and we would like to investigate these in more detail. To enable us to do this we urge that you contact Nichole McIntosh, Senior Nurse via email Nichole.McIntosh@bartshealth.nhs.uk or via the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 020 3594 2040. Kind regards, Barts Health NHS Trust

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