"In my opinion they failed to provide appropriate care"

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery

(as a relative),

My mother had been under the liver unit and its care for 5 yrs following a liver transplant after contracting HepC. At 70 she had a reasonably good life and we were grateful to the liver unit for all its support until April this year.

My mum was admitted with Ascitis and it appeared in Feb 10 that she really only had months. In April she was admitted to the liver ward with liver and kidney failure and severe Ascitis. We were informed the following day by her consultant that they would be suprised if she lasted a week. What happened from there was an absolute outcry.

I am a social worker for the elderly and I have never met ward staff who were so unprofessional and seemed untrained, had no knowledge of patients in end stage liver faiulure, and such poor skills in managing symptoms or supporting the patient or family.

My mum had incontinence pads at my request as she was unable to weight bear and often disoriented. But I was still having disagreements with her nurse who seemed more concerned about my mum becoming dependnet when she only had a few days anyway.

In my opinion, they failed to provide appropriate care, failed to manage her pain at the end stages, failed to recognise or provide palliative care when appropriate and subjected her to unecessary pain with intrusive procedures which could have been carried out under more appropriate and sensitive conditions which it was after the shambolic attempts at my mums expense.

That memory of the last two hours when she begged for pain relief to be told by ward Drs that there was no one available to see her and no contingency plans despite being reassured that when the time came she would recieve the drugs to help manage her pain as was her only request.

She died in agony while ward staff had their hand-over session chatting away while we waited outside that room for a response from the Dr to come to administer some morphine. They could not even give her paracetamol as there was no one available to unblock her intravenous line. The irony being that I had paracetamols in my handbag but she was unable to swallow.

I will never forgive the staff on that ward for their lack of compassion, their ignorance and lack of insight of the very specialism they work in. We got a stupid letter 3 months later stating they had failed to provide palliative care and for the lack of training the staff had...its no good for my mum is it?

I urge anyone who has loved ones at end stages to arrange hospice care or take them home...i wish i had done so.

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Response from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your experience at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We were very concerned to read your comments about your mothers care and treatment on the liver unit. This is certainly not the type of experience we would want anyone to have as a patient under our care. We strive to provide the highest standard of care possible and we are very sorry that we have not achieved this on this occasion. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience. From your comments it would appear that you have previously raised your concerns with us and that we responded by letter. We are sorry that you feel that we did not address all the issues you raised in our response to you, and would be very happy to discuss these further. If you would like to do so, please contact the Patient Services Department on 0121-627- 2950. Alternatively, you can contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service by phone 0121 371 3280, by email PALS@uhb.nhs.uk , via the hospitalwebsite .htm or in person by dropping in between 10.30-4pm (Mon-Fri) to the PALS office located to the left of the Information Desk in the main entrance of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
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