"End of life care."

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Cancer Services (Medical Oncology) Grampian Community Services Scottish Ambulance Service / Ambulance Control Centre Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance

(as a relative),

My father was diagnosed with cancer in April, and was given 2-6 months. Everything was great, the district nurses were amazing, and our GP doctors when coming out to see my dad. 

When he got put into the cancer ward at the hospital the nurses couldn’t have been nicer. The doctors on the other hand never came to speak to me and my mum about my dad’s care but would tell him things even though he was confused and couldn’t remember anything or understand what they were saying. We ended up asking to speak to a doctor at 6pm one night.. we waited until 8pm and the doctor hadn’t came, he/she decided to go home. 

My mum got a phone call on the Thursday morning saying a bed for my dad was coming to our house on the Friday morning, We then went into the hospital on the Thursday, and my dad had said he was getting home, but then when asked again said he hadn’t spoke to a doctor as he was so confused so again we had to ask to speak to someone.. no one came. One of the nurses said he was getting home on the Friday, even though they had said before they wouldn’t send him home at the weekend. No communication between doctors and family.

Dad came home on the Friday morning by the ambulance people, why was he so out of it?  We basically got given my dad like he didn’t matter, like it was the end of his life so they just dumped him home. We didn’t know anything about medication, careers etc until the nurse came in and told us everything. 

My friend also went up to the ward my dad was previously in to collect something left behind and she had told the nurse she was just a friend but the nurse proceeded to tell a stranger that my dad was sent home because he only had 2 days left and was telling her things about him and his care. Yet his family weren’t informed of any of that, which is unacceptable.  

Dad was on a nebuliser at the hospital, and got told he’d get a nebuliser home only if his breathing got “so bad” it was already “so bad”. Doctors kept saying dad would get certain medication but then wouldn’t give it. 

Dad ended up passing away very suddenly on the Saturday night. He had a DNR, but whilst on the phone to the paramedics centre the lady told us to give him CPR, but it shows up on his records a DNR. She then told us to haul him by his feet of the portable toilet and lay him flat, even though he was projectile vomiting blood, which he would have choked if we did that. We then told the lady that he had stopped breathing, she told us they wouldn't be sending anyone as he was dead and told us to hang up? Appalling. 

Some time later she phoned back and said a paramedic was coming out, he arrived and asked us if he was dead? Told us he needed to do some checks and then came back through and told us he was dead. The paramedic also left my dad sitting on the portable toilet with no bottoms on covered in blood. He was nearly falling off the portable toilet we had to try and sit him up so he wouldn’t fall over, instead of moving him onto his bed he left him there. very inhuman and insensitive considering what we had just went through. 

The undertakers then came and were more helpful than the paramedics, got him dressed and moved him. The nurse also came in and room up his morphine drip.

I can’t fault the district nurses, the carers and the GP doctors, they were amazing. Just disappointed in the treatment at his last stages of life. Disgusted in that service, and so is everyone we have spoken about it to.

Absolutely appalled with the service we were given. It would also be nice for the doctors at the hospital to communicate with family members of all the care that’s getting given, and make family aware if the patient is coming home that with a certain cancer (if the person has it) that the cancer can burst in the veins and make them projectile vomit blood which means they are passing. It would make it less distressing if we knew what was coming. 

Responses

Response from Carolyn Annand, Nurse Manager, Oncology and Haematology (Clinical Support Services Division), NHS Grampian

Dear Lollaaxox

I am sincerely sorry for your loss and extremely disappointed to read about your family’s experience whilst your father was an in- patient in the oncology (cancer) ward. Yvonne Wright, Chief Nurse for Clinical Support Services at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, would really appreciate if she could meet or speak with you on the phone to discuss your concerns about the lack of communication and potential breach of confidentiality. Furthermore she will share this care opinion with the Scottish Ambulance Service management team and include them in any further correspondence. Yvonne can be contacted on switchboard no 0345 456 6000 and ask for Yvonne Wright (Chief Nurse) or alternatively e mail her on: yvonne.wright2@nhs.net to arrange a convenient time to meet/speak

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, at a very difficult time for you and your family.

Yours sincerely

Carolyn Annand

Nurse Manager Oncology and Haematology

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

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Response from Alan Martin, Patient Experience Manager, Corporate Affairs and Engagement, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear lollaaxox,


First of all please accept my most sincere condolences for the passing of your father.

I am sorry to hear about the experience that was had by all and am concerned about the points you make. This sounds like it has been a truly distressing time for you and your family. Please let me have this looked into for you. May I ask that you contact myself at alan.martin2@nhs.net.

Kind Regards

Alan

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Update posted by lollaaxox (a relative)

If you are reading this story, and think that we have received any kind of investigation or answers to what my dad went through, that is incorrect. I had a meeting with the ambulance department the result of which was us feeling that we were wrong and the service did everything correctly.

Contact with the hospital about his care? A few emails have been exchanged, but then ignored when meetings have been set in place and as far as we can see nothing has been done about it.

Response from Carolyn Annand, Nurse Manager, Oncology and Haematology (Clinical Support Services Division), NHS Grampian

Dear lollaaxox

We were so surprised and disappointed to read your latest response. My colleagues and I were keen to speak to you at the re-arranged meeting that was scheduled to take place earlier this week at your convenience, and for which we were in attendance. We are absolutely committed to speaking with you and your family and responding to your queries. Perhaps we can try again for another meeting and as before would encourage you to contact Yvonne Wright (Chief Nurse), yvonne.wright2@nhs.net to arrange another convenient time to meet/speak. We remain mindful that coming to meet with NHS staff may feel daunting and as previously suggested you are welcome to bring a friend or other family member with you.

We are looking forward to meeting with you soon.

Once again thank you for taking the time to share your experience, at a very difficult time for you and your family.

Best wishes,

Yvonne Wright Carolyn Annand

Chief Nurse Nurse Manager

Clinical Support Services Oncology and Haematology

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