"Callous treatment of Motor Neurone patient"

About: Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary

(as a relative),

My wife is terminally ill with Motor Neurone Disease. She has no speech and is immobile, and, just out of interest, was herself a qualified nurse.

We recently called our doctor as my wife, who was being treated for a urinary infection, had developed a migraine, was in risk of choking on vomit and was very dehydrated. The doctor recommended she go to hospital immediately to get her rehydrated and to get her condition stabilised.

An ambulance arrived and she was treated with great care by the two ambulance personnel and brought to Ward 7 Medical Admittances, perhaps better labelled the “the disorganised cattle market”.

A doctor began her admittance procedure shortly afterwards (about an hour and  half after the ambulance arrived) and asked many questions to understand the background, sometimes repeating the same questions but eventually “got the picture”. MY wife was given an anti sickness injection which appeared to work quickly. However, at this point, this doctor was then told – in front of me- to join another doctor in A & E for another case. The admittance procedure had not been completed and there was no attempt to hand over to another doctor.

As requested we had brought all of my wife's medication with us. She was continually experiencing severe leg spasms (a regular problem with her condition) and we asked a nurse for her medicine to be administered as this was her prescribed medicine for this. However we were told that this had not been written up by the doctor (the one who disappeared) and the nurse was unable to administer the drug. We were told that if we wished to give the medicine then that was up to us, so my wife's sister immediately gave her the necessary dosage to relieve her sufferings.

No liquid line was attached to her and it was only four hours after her admittance, as we were leaving the hospital that the nursing staff began a hunt for this doctor and were making steps to get a line attached.

My wife was able to tell me that the doctor returned later that night and a saline drip was attached - seven hours after admittance for a terminally ill patient needing urgent rehydration.

Despite its being promised earlier to our doctor, there was no visit that day by any representative from the Alexandria Unit and when chasing up this point we were told that it was the role of the Admittance Ward to get all paper work completed first. This would be submitted to the consultant, identity not known, but this would be next day.

It seems the head of the Alexandria Unit works 09. 00 to 17. 00 and would not see anything until next day. Attempts had been made to contact the illusive Bed Manager concerning availability of a bed in the Alexandria Unit but the line always seemed engaged and we left that evening not knowing where this matter stood.

My wife was moved into a single side room in Ward 7 and fortunately was in the hands of a caring nurse who began to get her cleaned up and settled for the night as we left half an hour later.

Had I realised how she would be treated at Dumfries & Galloway Infirmary I would not have let her go to there in the first place. The lady is terminally ill, was very weak, dehydrated and in a chronic state of health and yet was treated with no real concern and it took four hours from admittance to get her into a quiet safe environment, something our doctor had requested from the nursing staff prior to my wife’s arrival at the hospital.

We returned to the hospital next morning ready to get her brought home by private ambulance if matters had not improved but we were relieved to see that she had been hooked up to a saline drip and appeared to be improving. She was discharged next day.

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