"Kill Or Cure?"

About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My father passed away at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on the 15th January this year.

After two weeks he was sent to a rehabilitation ward as he was weak and was meant to receive Physiotherapy and rehabilitation so that he could go home and look after himself. He received two visits from a physiotherapist who walked him to the end of the ward and back.

He got very depressed and was left sitting in a chair each day. On the wednesday prior to his death he told me he felt unwell, I told a nurse, who said he was fine.

On the Thursday he complained again that he felt unwell so my brother spoke to the staff nurse on duty and asked to speak to the doctor, after a lengthy discussion the nurse said she would get the doctor to call one of us the next day. Nobody called the following morning so my brother contacted the ward again and eventually spoke to a doctor. My brother explained that my dad was ill, he suffered from Bronchiatesis due to a lobectomy during the war, the doctor seemed oblivious to the facts about his medical history. Finally the doctor agreed to investigate his problem an do blood test and a sputum test. That evening when we visited that evening he was on intravenous antibiotics & oxygen!

When we asked why, we were told they thought he had an infection?

On the Saturday, we were very concerned about him as he hadn't eaten for days and no-one had made sure he had nourishment. That evening he asked for us as he was so ill and so my family and I sat with him on the ward all night.

However! the nurses resented us being there, they said 'why are you here? we are treating him you know'.

Eventually we got him some food supplement drinks and were with him most of the time.

On Tuesday evening he said he felt very ill again, I spoke to the nurse who I felt was very abrupt, and said 'we are treating him'. My father said he had a bad night and asked for us to be called, but nobody called us. We insisted that if he wanted us to be there they were to call us, they didn't until Wednesday morning when they called and said he was extremely ill and was being transferred to ITU.

My brother and I sat with him all night. There were two nurses for 24 beds. We had been told he was dying and could have morphine but when we asked we were told to wait because two nurses had to administer it and there were only two on the ward. My father died on Thursday at 1.30pm. It took 1 hr 20 mins for a doctor to come to the ward and release his body. It took 4 and a half hrs for another doctor to certify his death.

The next day my brother called the bereavement officer and she said that she had paged a doctor to sign the death forms at 9.00 and no-one had come. Her words were 'some patients have to wait days'. We eventually went to the hospital and insisted that the forms were completed but it was then too late to register his death and have the body removed by the funeral directors.

The relatives room (quiet room) doubled as a meeting room and was absolutly filthy, the curtains were hanging down and one side was sellotaped to the wall. There were dead bugs on the windowsill and cobwebs.

My dad fought in the D Day landings, he was wounded and was the only one in his company to return from France alive. He never complained, he was a true gentleman yet we feel that he was ridiculed by some staff, ignored, disrepected, and degraded. When he needed help, we felt it was not there. We mopped his brow, swabbed his mouth, gave him a urine bottle and held his hand while he died the staff did nothing.

The irony of it is he went into hospital because he had a fall and his death certificate read cause of death- Pneumonia hospital acquired!

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