"Husband treated with someone elses notes."

About: Lincoln County Hospital / Accident and emergency Lincoln County Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

My husband was admitted to Lincoln City Hospital in April 2012, a usually very healthy middle aged man. I had taken him to A&E on the Saturday and again the following day after he rapidly began to lose his eyesight and could barely walk.

After a 6. 5 hour wait, he was finally admitted to MEAU and after a day or two had to be moved to SEAU as his bed was needed (I thought at the time it was a strange ward to be admitted to from what appeared to be serious neurological symptoms). He was then left on the ward totally blind and unable to care for himself (relying on his family to help him with eating, toileting and washing) as the SEAU ward, understandably, is too busy a ward to deal with such care).

When the doctors came to do their usual rounds, they missed out my husband. When I asked why he wasn't able to see a doctor, I was told he already had a care plan in place and therefore it wasn't necessary. I knew that my husband needed an urgent MRI scan as we had been told in A&E, but I was constantly fobbed off and told there wasn't any available appointments because of the backlog from the bank holiday.

After 4 days and at the point of total blindness, I demanded that we see a neurologist (we still hadn't seen one since my husband was admitted). Eventually, after being treated very rudely by one of the doctors, I was told that we could have a 5 minute appointment in the outpatients department the following day, but it would only be 5 minutes because there were no appointments actually available and I would have to take him to the appointment in a wheelchair. I was really cross, but accepted this as our only chance of getting any medical attention (it really was a very frustrating and a surreal situation, that no one seemed at all bothered by a man who obviously had something seriously wrong).

However, on the same day, I made an unbelievable discovery. When I went through my husbands hospital notes (a long story I won't bore you with), it became apparent that my husband was being treated as another patient, who (according to the notes) had asked to be admitted to MEAU for observation after being worried about symptoms they were experiencing relating to a headache). The detailed notes in my husband's file had my husband's name and NHS number on, the care plan also had my husbands name on, which stated that the patient be admitted to MEAU for observation and painkillers. However, when I read them I realised that they related to a she and not to my husband at all. My husband had certainly not self admitted for a headache.

I was absolutely furious. My husband had been left on the ward with observation and painkillers (intended for another patient) and left to go blind, for 5 days. When I brought this to the immediate attention of the staff on the ward, suddenly a neurologist from Sheffield was available and came over to Lincoln to see my husband. He was eventually diagnosed with a serious condition and immediate medication was then started. I do not know what would have happened if I had not taken the time to read my husband's notes, (or not in this case) carefully. No one else had done. No one else had noticed that they did not relate to him.

I am still waiting to hear about my formal complaint from Lincoln City Hospital. PALS said, as they have a big back-log of complaints to deal with, they are unable to give me a time limit as to when this can be investigated. It fills me with little confidence. I seriously worry about the safety of other patients.

9 months and 'those at the top' are still unaware of my complaint. It's still stuck in the in tray along with my photographic evidence in the PALS department. (They kindly informed me of this, this morning, after I finally managed to speak to someone).

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience; we are very sorry that you and your husband clearly had a very difficult and worrying time and on behalf of the Trust I would like to offer both of you our sincere apologies.

Following our response to your initial complaint last year, you came back to us with further thoughts and whilst I was trying to find out a little more about what happened I have been informed that you have recently spoken with one of our senior managers and are arranging a meeting to discuss your concerns face to face.

I hope this will be helpful for you so that here, locally, the right people can answer your questions and concerns and importantly for us too we can see where we can put things right that did not go well and ensure this does not happen again in the future.

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