"The death of my uncle in QEQM Hospital"

About: Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital

(as a relative),

My uncle was taken by ambulance to A & E in early February 2012 after being found by social workers lying on the floor in his flat for nearly 20 hours.

He was transferred to CDU and all necessary telephone numbers were given to hospital staff by the social workers.

As I lived in Spain at the time they explained that I was the next of kin and should be contacted regarding his condition. After the social workers contacted me I telephoned the QEQM Hospital to enquire about his condition and was informed he was comfortable and they were carrying out tests and could tell me no more.

The next day I telephoned which was an experience all of its own. The automated voice is a total waste of time and I am sure could cause a heart attack in that it is so frustrating, time consuming and expensive when on a mobile calling from abroad.

Eventually I found that my uncle had been transferred to Deal Ward and was put through by an actual person to the Ward. A nurse informed me he had only just arrived and until he had been assessed they could tell me no more but the standard phase 'he was comfortable'. I asked her to check that they had my telephone number, explaining I was in Spain and could not get back as I was moving back to the UK. She said yes we have your number and we are aware of the situation. My uncle it seemed was transferred to Bishopsgate Ward and finally to Sandwich Ward where he died a few days later.

My complaint is that at no time was I contacted by the hospital, at no time was I ever informed when I phoned that he was critical, and neither did the hospital inform me that he had died.

I received a phone call at 10pm on my mobile in Spain from the minister who had read the last rites to my uncle at 6.15pm. He had phoned everywhere trying to obtain a number for me as the hospital said they had no phone numbers for next of kin. I could not believe it and immediately phoned the QEQM. Eventually after being transferred from ward to ward I found out he had died on Sandwich Ward. The nurse I spoke to was apologetic but said they had no contact numbers which I know was untrue. The social services also confirmed they had the numbers.

How could this have happened, that someone is admitted on a Monday is perfectly lucid and aware and after being moved all round the hospital dies on Saturday night without his next of kin being informed, or more to the point being given the opportunity to fly back to the U.K to at least be with him at the end?

I was told by the nurse that a bereavement counsellor would contact me, to date this has not happened. What is the matter with your hospital administration? To add further to my grief, you have been unable to find my uncle's jacket which had his bank debit card in the pocket and also his the keys to his flat. I have personally been to the hospital and have been to all the wards that I think he was in but the jacket remains lost. Luckily I have closed his bank account but was unable to return the keys to the housing association.

More about:
Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››