"Mum died from pathway!"

About: Raigmore Hospital / General Medicine

(as a relative),

My mum was admitted to Raigmore following infection. She had some underlying health problems but had fallen seriously ill due to an infection. We were told by 2 consultants and a team of doctors and nurses that nothing could be done for my mum and that she was going to definitely die. The doctors withdrew all treatment prior to speaking with her immediate family and continued to tell us that they were going to put her on palliative care only.

We are not doctors and didn't need to be medically qualified to understand that my mums only chance of fighting infection was antibiotics. As a family we fought hard to have antibiotics and fluid given. Eventually we asked to speak to a consultant on a different department and suddenly the consultants on ward 7 agreed to give antibiotics, stating that they wouldn't do any good and as they were quite cheap anyway so they would give them, but nothing else.

Within 24 hours my mums stats were improving and thankfully she was discharged a week later. No apology or acknowledgement from any doctor that we had been right to ask for antibiotics. Unfortunately she was discharged to a community hospital where again she wasn't given the sufficient fluids or the necessary continuation of her antibiotic treatment. She ended up dehydrated and so over dosed on morphine that doctors eventually had to administer a reversal drug for the morphine overdose!. Eventually we were informed that she still had infection and that they again weren't going to treat it!

Again we had to fight to have her referred back to Raigmore. She arrived on ward 6 where the doctor decided again not to treat the infection and simply as she put it "let nature take its course"! Again we fought to have antibiotics reinstated. The doctor finally agreed, but unfortunately she didn't investigate where my mums infection was and simply ordered a standard antibiotic treatment. Unfortunately my mum was diagnosed with pneumonia 3 days too late and she died. I believe simple correct investigation, and administration of the correct antibiotics could have saved her life. My mum was put on the Liverpool pathway twice by doctors at this hospital. They seemed so desperate to put her on palliative care. I will never rest until they are brought to justice. My mum paid all her life into the nhs and her family lost the most amazing mother, wife and grandmother for the sake of a cheap antibiotic treatment.

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Responses

Response from Elaine Mead, Chief Executive, NHS Highland

Dear Footprints

I am very sorry to read your story on patient opinion, and want to offer my condolences for the loss of your mum. I can tell that you are understandably angry and upset, and I know that there is nothing that I will be able to say that will help at this moment.

It sounds like your mum was seriously ill, but a real fighter, who rallied around after some antibiotics, but was still very sick. I am sure that the whole team would have wanted to provide the best care for her, and I am sorry that you were not involved in some of the decisions that were made initially. We no longer use the Liverpool care pathway, but do have protocols to support people who are nearing the end of their lives so I am also really sorry to hear that you felt that you were having to 'fight' for her care, at what must have been a difficult time for the whole family.

If you would like to speak to me, or any of my senior team when you feel able, then please contact me on 01463 704977. Once again, I am sorry for your loss and hope that you will, in time, be able to find some closure from this episode.

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