"My mum was sent to an empty home in the middle of the night"

About: Tameside General Hospital / General medicine

(as a carer),

Mum was taken by ambulance & admitted through A & E, on a Saturday afternoon in November 2009, her symptoms consisted of heart racing, high blood pressure, dizziness, and shortness of breath. She had some tests to determine her condition, it was after the duty doctors viewed her ECG & came to discuss with me she would be admitted to hospital for further investigation. Mum has had a stroke in the past, quadruple heart bypass and suffers with COPD. After, she was shown to a bed & I made sure she was safe & comfortable on the ward, the time was right for me to now make my way home, (as I am diabetic & in need of medication & sustenance myself) at approx 9.15 pm, I left for home.

Later that same evening, at approx 11.25pm, I received a phone call from the hospital, whereupon, a female voice in broken English announced my mum was to go home. I was absolutely horrified, not to mention alarmed it was completely unacceptable, When I replied I was unable to collect my parent (as I had had a glass of wine), the caller asked why I could not collect my mum, after repeating myself the caller ended the call. I contacted my sister almost immediately as I was in shock, I think, she said that's unbelievable, anyway, as there was no further communication we retired to bed, (as we thought , mum was in the best place, safe in a caring environment & we would go visit her first thing in the morning).

The following morning I just had a gut feeling a compassion to dial my mums telephone number, & sure enough (to my absolute horror) she answered the call. I said, "what time did you get home then?", about 1.15am, came the reply. they sent me home in taxi. Utter disbelief, I was so angry & let down, I felt sick. Baring in mind Mum is 79 in April, had no sleep that day, (or night), she was by this time disorientated, together with all her health problems, only the Wednesday of the same week I took her to the clinic for hearing aids to be fitted in BOTH ears. She wasn't sure what they were saying to her when they said she could go home, she just smiled!. In my opinion she was so vulnerable, they let her down.

My Mum was informed she was going in a taxi, but she had no money on her so got panicky about that, then was taken from her bed by wheelchair & wheeled out to a stranger waiting in a taxicab. As she has mobility problems (wheelchair user), she was like jelly inside worrying now about how is she going to get from the car to her front door, as she has to have help. The taxi driver spoke very little English, this added to her anxieties, they were mounting by the minute. She had been asked prior her departure by hospital staff, "has a neighbour got a key?", no was the answer. Sure they would be pleased to be disturbed at that time of the morning if they did have. My point here being they knew she lived alone. As the taxi arrived at mums house the taxi driver asked for money, apparently the hospital were to pay him, mum had to tell him that at this point.

The stranger the taxi driver , then became mums carer, he had to assist her out of the cab & she had to hand over her keys to this stranger. It gets better, the house is in total darkness, there is no heating on, (I had switched it off just as mum was placed in the ambulance, as It was pointless heating an empty property). She, by this time just about crawled to her chair, after struggling to lock her doors, where she proceeded to have no less than 3 nebulisers in quick succession.

By this time it was getting on for something to 3 am. She knew she had to get to bed to get warm, as she is still on the waiting list for a stair lift, she again proceeded to at first go up the stairs on her bottom, finally after some deliberation on all fours. If she had have fallen or had a stroke or another heart attack, no one would have known she was there, my sister & I thought she was safely wrapped up & being cared for in our hospital. To add insult to injury, I informed mums carers she had been admitted to hospital & wouldn't require their services until further notice.

Mum is now terrified of becoming ill in the future & may refuse to go to our hospital, as we feel we now as a family have lost confidence in the place that should be there for our greater good & protection.

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Response from Philip Dylak, Director of Nursing, Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting these comments. Without a name it is difficult to know exactly what happened. However, the events as you describe them are completely unacceptable. It would be very helpful if I could discuss this incident with you, if you would be willing to do so. In the meantime, I would wish to offer my apologies to your mother, and to you

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