"Staff shortages, incompetence & negligence with the care of my Mother"

About: Hull Royal Infirmary Scunthorpe General Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

This is a long & ongoing saga and almost a comedy of errors & negligent care of my mother by both the GP & hospital trusts....

Initially for a few years now since being diagnosed as diabetic my mothers weight had constantly & slowly been reducing & this had been noted at the GP surgery. At no time was there a suggestion that perhaps she should visit a dietician to find out why. Now taking the saga on to Autumn 2012 .... she has suffered from catarrh for some considerable time....but this had started to become very dark & green & infected .... so went to the GP for help, only to be told it was nothing & they offered no treatment.

Flash forward to late 2012 & my Mother was feeling very poorly indeed...weak, tired & having difficulty breathing. She visited her GP & without even being examined by the GP she was told there was nothing wrong & to go home.

The next morning she was very ill & her blood glucose level spiked to 32 so my father called an ambulance & she was rushed into & admitted to Intensive Care at Scunthorpe General Hospital with pneumonia & what at the time they thought may have been a stroke. A separate formal complaint has been sent to the GP & PALS about this treatment by the GP.

After a couple of weeks in ICU they determined that she had not had a stroke & was receiving excellent care but due to a staffing/bed shortage she was transferred to ICU at Hull Royal Infirmary. This caused a great many problems with my elderly father being unable to visit at Hull due to his own health problems & issues with driving at night. We worked round those problems by temporarily moving him in with my sister who lived nearer Hull & one person taking him to Hull while someone else would pick him up 6 hours later. We actually spoke to PALS & both our & her MP's about this at the time.

While in Hull (again receiving excellent care) she contracted another chest infection, but doctors also looked into other medical problems & carried out many tests & although tests showed negative they started treatment for myasthenia gravis. Now the chest infection appeared to have masked the results but she did start to improve.

Last month she was transferred back to ICU at Scunthorpe & continued to improve & about a week later was moved to Ward 22 .

Now the errors & neglect really started. Her nasal feeding tube was removed & the staff told her they were going to remove her tracheotomy tube either that day or the next which perked her up no end. From that point she was receiving no nutrition as she was still being treated as Nil by Mouth. Come the next morning morning the Doctor did his rounds & told her that he was not willing to remove the tube at this time & that the feeding tube would need to be replaced. This distressed her & she said she did not want that tube back in but after being lectured by family members she agreed. The tube was not put back in. Come the following day (so now 72 hours without nutrition) the tube was still not back in & when I questioned the nurses they said it was because she had refused it. We know that after that initial refusal she had agreed (so I pointed this out & demanded they put it back). Eventually three days after removal the tube was reinserted & around 96 hours after being removed, feeding by the tube was restarted. However it does not appear that anyone has been checking her blood glucose levels during this time (not feeding a diabetic patient for 4 days). It was also not clear if she was receiving any insulin after having been on pumped in insulin for 8 weeks in ICU & also not clear if she had been receiving her medication for the hypertension which she also suffers from.

To top all this off, it also appears that since being transferred from Hull Royal Infirmary (where the doctors told us they were still convinced that she was suffering from myasthenia gravis & that the medication was the reason for her improvement) that this treatment had not been continued at Scunthorpe!

We are sure looking at the decline in her health over a 72 hour period that the staff were negligent & were leaving her there to slip into a coma & die.

A couple of days after having the feeding tube replaced they removed the tracheotomy & tube & have put my mum onto a regular diet. Doctor visited & said they was very pleased with her progress & that the hope now was to start intensive rehab & physio to get her fit to return home which she was pleased about. Her chest infections have all cleared up but in my opinion the nursing care still leaves a bit to be desired. For example, as she is on a respiratory ward & not in need of great amounts of nursing care we feel she is largely ignored. On the first day of being put in a chair beside her bed, she leaned forward & fell onto the floor. She was there for almost half an hour before someone came to assist her back into the chair.

Until now she has received no rehab (8 days after being told this would start).

On the whole my mothers care has been a comedy of errors and while we cannot praise the staff in either the Hull or Scunthorpe ICU depts enough, care beyond that has been laughable & as we said we consider bordering on gross negligence. Senior nursing staff on Ward 22 are at best aloof, worst rude & tell the family absolutely nothing despite promises of daily updates.

The whole situation has also been reported to the hospital through my mum’s MP.....but as yet over 2 weeks after he wrote....he has not yet received a reply.

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Response from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you very much for your valuable feedback. I am sorry to hear about your experience. I can confirm we have received this complaint and will be responding very soon. In the meantime, you are very welcome to request a meeting with Trust staff if you would like to discuss your concerns in person.

Kind regards,

Sarah Mainprize

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