"Distress, disgust, and horror that this can happen"

About: Royal Blackburn Hospital

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My mother was admitted to B.R.Infirmary in August 2012, after various mis-diagnoses on 3 previous visits. She was 87. She was unable to swallow, and therefore unable to eat properly, and was severely undernourished and de-hydrated, something that hadn't been noticed (!?) and had been completely ignored when we had pointed it out repeatedly to the consultants we had seen. We were quite frantic with worry, but trying to get any help seemed impossible. No one was listening to what we were telling them. It was 7 days before the fact that she was quietly starving to death was acted upon, and she was put on a 'red-tray scheme', Why it was thought that someone who couldn't physically swallow anything would manage dry sandwiches is just plain stupid. We found the nurses blase and indifferent to her state.

Neither my sisters or my Father were given any clear idea of what was wrong, and had to make a nuisance of themselves to get information. Eventually, after some test results, we were told that there was nothing to be done, she was in advanced stage of stomach cancer, and she should be brought home, basically expected to die within the next few days.No one explained anything, what help we would get, what we had to do or expect. That was on a Tuesday, 8 days after her arriving at the hospital.

An occupational therapist appeared, told us we would have to have the house assesed, would need a bed downstairs, a downstairs bathroom and a stairlift, if the downstairs toilet wasn't possible.

On the Wednesday, we were given a second diagnosis, non-hodgkins lymphoma, curable, etc, she just needed to take steriod tablets, and we should bring her in to start a course of Chemo within the next week. The Consultant hadn't even taken the time to go and look at my Mother, who by this time, was as frail and frightened as it is possible to be and still breathe. Imagine how we felt. How my 90 year old Father felt.

What on earth were we to think?

My mother was sent home the next day, was seen by her own GP, who immediately sorted out a hospital bed, nurses,carers, and all we needed. Mum was put on 'The Liverpool Pathway', a charity that help manage end of life care. She died 10 days later.

The shock of this was truely awful, and made so much worse by the total lack of care, the confusion, consideration and honesty by this hospital. We were ignored, brushed aside, and baffled, and at the end of the day, lied to. This should not be allowed to happen.

Basic care, consideration and help were completely lacking.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Blackburn Hospital

We are very sorry that your mothers service and treatment to our Trust was not to the standard that was expected. To ensure we make improvements to our services and consistently provide care to the high standard we expect, please could you contact our PALs team either by email to PALS@elht.nhs.uk or via the free- phone number 0800 5872586. This will enable us to fully investigate your concerns and provide you with feedback regarding this.

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