"The treatment of a patient with Alzheimer's"

About: Scunthorpe General Hospital / Accident and emergency Scunthorpe General Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

Dear Sir or Madam

I do not want this letter to be looked at as a complaint, but I do hope it will be looked at in a constructive way, thereby making a stay in hospital a pleasant experience for these patients, and many other elderly people.

It started one Wednesday towards the end of January 2012.

I took my wife to the Dr surgery at 12 noon she had been having bouts of sickness for about a fortnight, by the time we got to the surgery my wife was looking quite yellow. Jaundice.

After Dr examination we were given a letter of admission to MAU ward Scunthorpe General Hospital, my wife as a personal carer under the social services care plan, I asked the carer to take my wife to the MAU ward, I would get my daughter and meet her there. This was about 13 hours.

On our arrival at MAU we were informed there were no beds, and my wife along with her carer had been sent to the casualty dept.

We sat in the casualty dept 3 hours 30 minutes seeing a triarge nurse during this time. We were eventualy sent back to the MAU ward where my wife was taken to a bed.

Very little happened for 4 hours, when eventualy a Dr came to take blood, because she could not get a blood sample out of the usual places, she informed us she would be back to take blood from the abdomen, she came back got her stuff disappeared never came back again. An hour later after we complained another Dr came took a blood sample no problems, We were then told we would have to wait for the consultant who would not be there while 8pm. He eventualy came checked medical history My wife as had Epilepsy since she 14 years old, She as been on 100mg capsules of Phenytoin sodium, and 250mg Primidone tablets for over 50 years. Did an examination gave instructions to admit my wife for further tests, it was not until he had left that we found out he had given instructions to immediately stop the 100mg Phenytoin sodium, after 50 years. But they did not tell us what for? Did the suspect it could be cause of problems, I ask you, after 50 years?

Eventually my wife was moved to ward 23 at 1am. After getting her settled we all went home and left my wife in the care of the Hospital.

The Next day, visiting time was 2pm to 4pm. My wife was fine was able to walk okay to go to the toilet, which I went with her, evening visiting she was again okay 6.30pm to 8pm left her in the care of the Hospital.

On the following day, we arrived for visiting at 2pm I found my wife sat in a chair shivering, she said to me I need to go to the toilet, assuming she could walk I tried to get her out of the chair, she was in very much pain from 2 very swollen knees, my daughter immediately suggested that she may have had a fall, this was denied by the Hospital staff.

I know that she had a bruise on the right knee from a fall three weeks previous. When she went into Hospital, there was no injury on her left leg when she went into hospital.

I noticed her bed was different there was an air mattress on it that the staff were pumping up,which I was told was for another patient.

At this point I got the impression my wife was not being properly cared for, to have been placed in a chair and left shivering, with 2 very swollen knees, as far as I am concerned was totally out of order.

Eventually a porter came to take her for a scan of the abdomen. She could not stand up to get into a wheel chair, was then lifted into the Wheel Chair, was the lift out of order?

On arrival at the ultrasound scan area she could not get onto the bed, The scan operator said she would have to cancel the scan and schedule it for sometime next week, I must admit I was very angry by now and said over my dead body, the operator then rang ward 23 obviously told them what I had said, by this time I had arrived back at ward 23, I complained the ward sister then told me they were bringing my wife back, they would get a bed to take her on back to the scan area.

Total disbelief.

At the end of visiting time I was told to leave as time was up, no way on earth was I going to leave my wife in the care of the Hospital after what had happened that day, so I refused to go, informed them I was not leaving and I would be sleeping in the chair at the side of her.

I was then told by staff I could not stay as it was a women's ward, I then informed them nothing on this earth will move me from her side.

After discussions with my daughter the staff agreed to move my wife into a side ward and put a reclining chair in for me to sleep in, which I accepted, I spent 6 terrible nights in this chair, my wife on total bed rest we had 3 totally sleepless nights and so did I. My Wife has a personal carer who stayed with her during the day, and I went home to try and get a little sleep.

During those three days x rays were done of her hip, knees, legs, we were given contradictory information re fractures. Being eventualy told no fractures were found thank God.

I know my wife as Arthritis in the knees, last time her knees swelled up like this was after a fall onto the knees, which cost her 2 weeks in a care home.

An orthopaedic Dr came tried to explain to me that the only problem was severe Arthritis. Which I refused to accept, I believe something had happened to her, if not a fall then her knees had been banged and I said when this is over I will sue the NHS and the Hospital.

After 6 days and nights my wife was able to get out of bed and use a commode, the seventh day she was able to walk to the toilet very slowly with her Walker. She was moved back into the general ward at the beginning of February.

She was then sent for a CT scan which we were told was okay, on her discharge letter it showed more than we were told.

We were then told she would be sent to another Hospital for a MRI Scan. The day after she was discharged I was informed, by who I assume was a staff Nurse, that the MRI Scan would take place at Scunthorpe Hospital mobile unit at 12.30pm the following day

Two days after the MRI Scan we were trying to find out the results. I was told the delay could be caused, possibly there was no one qualified to read the MRI Scan in Scunthorpe Hospital.

That evening a Dr came to see us with the results, I was informed all was okay, a Blood test would be done next day re the Liver function if that came back okay, my wife would be discharged and could go home.

At 4pm on the day of the blood test, the result had still not come through, approx 5pm we were told the result was okay and the discharge would be got ready.

The Staff Nurse brought the discharge paper about 6pm and said the drugs would be got ready to take with us, and by the way the Dr stopped the 250mg Primedone for the Epilepsy 4 days ago no explanation why? We were never asked or informed about this by a Dr.

Thinking they know what they are doing I did not give her any of theses tablets for Epilepsy by following week I was getting very concerned re what I think were with drawl symptoms from the Primedone drug. My wife had some dizzy spells

said the room was going round. She went to bed feeling unwell at 5pm. By 9pm I got a 250mg Primidone tablet and gave it to her. By midnight she seemed better and went to sleep.

Saturday Morning I made an apointment to see our GP took her down, when I explained what had gone on I was informed that these drugs 250mg Primidone that she had been on for over 50 years, should not have been stopped so abruptly and the dose should have been reduced slowly over a period of time, which I must say he is now doing.

I am defiantly not satisfied with my wife's treatment on Ward 23 of Scunthorpe Hospital, and I do hope and pray she never has to go in there again.

I must state here that what staff there is on the ward try there best.

They seem to me to be under staffed. I think something needs to be done about the lack of the standard of care my wife experienced, and I would think there are many more Hospitals around the country in the same situation.

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Response from PR and Communications Manager, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

We always strive to provide quality care for our patients - it is fundamental to our hospitals' philosophy of care.

As such we were concerned to read this and would ask the family to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service to ensure this can be investigated fully. They can be contacted on 01724 290132 or Grimsby 01472 875403