"I would have to be unconscious to go back to that hospital"

About: University Hospital (Coventry) / Neurology

(as a relative),

I was submitted by ambulance on the 07/04/08 to Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital. I take medication for my Parkinson’s and it is important that I have it at certain times. Once I was well enough on the Admissions and medical ward, I was able to manage my own medication. I was looked after in there and I was fitted with stomach bag, two drips and a catheter. After so many days I was transferred to the neurology ward. When I arrived on the ward I heard them say, “Who sent her up like that?” As they did not know I had the tubes fitted to me. Then they said that I was to be sent back down to where I had come from. I asked for a drink of water, one was brought to me and left on the side cabinet. I couldn’t drink it by myself as I had dyskinesia very bad. I asked if they would be able to tell my husband I had moved. They said there was no need to let him know, he would find me. I needed to be changed as the stomach bag had over flowed. They told me I would have to wait, as you can imagine it was not pleasant. I was very thirsty, they could not find me a beaker, and I was told I would have to use the glass. Trying to drink from a glass with severe dyskinesia is impossible. I tried to drink from the glass, but as you can imagine it went all over me.

At visiting time nobody arrived, it was an hour and a half before they found me. When they did find me they were very upset to see me in such a state. The staff then decided to wash and change me, when all I wanted to do was speak to my family. Whilst I was on this ward, the staff took my medication off me. They didn’t understand that I have to have it at certain times. They didn’t talk about it, I had to wait until the trolley came round. I did mention I had to have mediation at certain times but I was told I had to wait. The doctor then decided to change my medication. After they changed this, I had a very bad night, no sleep and I felt awful. The next morning they came round at 6am and I asked for a chair so I could go to the toilet. I was very weak and could hardly move. I was told by the nurse, “You walked yesterday so you will walk today”. She would not help me in anyway. I found it very humiliating as I needed the toilet. I thought nurses were there to help you. I am the sort of person who does not ask for help unless I really need it.

I needed to have a wash, a bowel was put in front of me and I was told to get on with it. I was very upset, I phoned my husband to come to the hospital to help me as I was getting no help at all. The ward manager gave instructions to staff that I was to help myself. They stood behind the curtain listening to my phone call and laughing. I heard the ward manager say, “Don’t give her any information as she knows too much, no-one speak to her”.

My husband came up, but they wouldn’t let him stay on ward, he was told to sit in the café. My husband told the ward that he wanted to speak to the specialist. They didn’t even let him know she was on the ward.

The next morning a male nurse was sent in at 6am to get me out of bed to have a shower. I need to have my medication first, so I refused. After things were made very awkward, nobody told me anything or spoke to me, which made me feel very isolated. To go back into this hospital again, I would have to be unconscious. I felt I was very badly treated there.

This letter and form was written for me by my daughter-in-law as I am now deteriorating. I hope that no other patient has to go through and feel like what I did.

Daughter-in-law: I was disgusted by what I have seen and heard, the way my mother-in-law was treated. She has always been clean and well presented lady. What that was and those staff did is unforgivable and they humiliated her. I hope that you deal with this matter.

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Response from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust is very sorry to read this posting and takes its content with the up most seriousness. Your stated experience is far from what we like to give to our patients and appears far from our usual high standards of patient care and experience. We do take feedback from patients and relatives whether good or bad extremely seriously and I would therefore ask if you could take the time to contact the hospital with your name and details of your stay so we can investigate your complaint properly and provide you with a full and complete reply.

Emma Spencer

Communications Office

University Hospital

02476 96 6054

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