"Callous treatment of elderly brain cancer patient"

About: North Devon District Hospital

My 76 year old extremely vulnerable father was brought to A and E with severe pain relating to his brain tumour.

The paramedics were brilliant, and were able to move him out of his bed at home using a "scoop" stretcher after hours of agony and immobility.

The story of brilliant care stops there , however.

I was told by A and E he would likely stay in overnight and advised to call in the morning.

My Dad was kept waiting for hours, cold and sitting in a chair.

When I called to check up on him, the receptionist was rude and patronising.

At 3.30 am (yes 3.30 in the morning) my Dad called me himself from hospital phone (bearing in mind he had extreme difficulty speaking and understanding) to say he was being discharged.

I arrived to find him lying on a trolley in a draughty corridor with bare feet - already swollen, sore and uncomfortable from steroids.

Two nurses were swinging on their chairs at the station just in front - not busy.

My Dad was extremely grateful for the blanket I then requested.

I was told by the medical staff there was nothing they could do.

I explained that this was the second night in a row my Dad had been in agony and needed paramedics to move him.

They said "Well, what do you want us to do about it?"


As with brain cancer, radiotherapy and steroids, even a little exertion is exhausting, so by this point, my Dad was completely drained.

I knew this would take days to get over.

So I drove him home and put him to bed in his chair as there was no way I wanted him to be unable to move out of his bed.

I called the local hospice, who called the on-call doctors who agreed that he had ben treated appallingly by A and E.

He was admitted that morning to the hospice for 2 weeks for pain management and then I took him home for his end of life care.

Terrible, dismissive treatment for a vulnerable elderly man in extreme pain and no attempt to listen to my explanation of the seriousness of his need.

It's really not brain surgery to realise that he deserved better than the callous, dismissive treatment he received at A and E.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Jayne Kruszewski, Customer Relations Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Relative

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on the website. I was very disappointed to read your comments, and would like to apologise for any upset caused at the time.

I would also like the opportunity to look into your concerns in more detail if you would like me to, and would ask that you contact PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) on 01271 314090 to discuss your concerns with a member of staff - or alternatively you can get in touch by emailing us at ndht.PALS@nhs.net

Many thanks

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'Anonymous'

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

Thank you for commenting on what you describe as a distressing experience. Please take this further by contacting the PALS service as suggested. At Healthwatch we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments should help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss this or any health or social care issue with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain

Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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