"shocking care of my sister [9 May 2013]"

About: The James Cook University Hospital

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I have just returned home visitng my very poorly sister (I was accompanied by my eldest sister) in ward 2 of James Cook hospital. My sister who is in hospital is in very poor health & has many long term health issues ongoing. Today I witnessed the shocking neglect by staff/nurses on this ward of my sister. I am shocked that in these times of high tech that when my sister was admitted to hospital severely hyrdrated and very obviously very poorly indeed that hospital teams did today & still do not have access to her medical history, surely this is crucial in any initial/ongoing assessment/diagnosis. My sister has severe lupus (~20 years) & is soon to have a spinal operation, she is on much medication to ease daily pain, not being able to even sit down as her spine is crumbling away, medication that she simply cannot survive without ... she has been waiting all day to be administered this medication. She was so poorly when I visited this eve not even having the energy to even lift her head, I could clearly see she is severely hydrated & lethargic. After waiting for ~4 hours late last night for an ambulance (GP NHS request) my brother in law had to place a 999 call as he was so desperately worried about his wife. Upon admittance my sister was administered a fluids drip .... at lunchtime today the ward doctor I am told suggested my sister could return home & tonight the ward sister advised us she had had to intervene and insisted my sister was very unwell and needed further observations. My sister then said the doctor said she should have another fluids drip, at 1815 hours my sister had still had no drip administered ....after spking with the nurse allegedly caring for my sister insisted the doctor had not told them to put in another fluids drip, they kept apologising saying 'they did not know...' and told us they were just newly qualified and eventually went away to seek advice from the ward sister, who then came to talk to us. This resulted in my sister being given some form of medication given by this senior staff nurse, I don't know what it was. there was some exchange of words with my sister & realisation that tablets were left on my sisters table, which this young nurse said was calcium & aspirin, but my sister is unable to chew (lost her teeth though years of medication, steroids,lupus etc etc) & didn't know why they'd left aspirin, she got very upset when the staff said if you refuse to take your medication what can they do ... my sister was obviously so ill & confused & is crying out for help and needed obvious care ... she consequently broke down & cried that she could take no more of the constant pain, discomfort that she was in, it was pitiful, she cried that she did not want to be here anymore (did not want to live) .... at this point the mood of senior nurse changed. Before we left my eldest sister & I made my sister comfortable, changed the dirty pads she was layed on & tried to make her comfy ... we left in a daze

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Response from The James Cook University Hospital

Thank you for your feedback regarding your sister. I am very concerned to learn of the care and treatment afforded to your sister during her stay at The James Cook University Hospital.

I have forwarded your feedback to senior staff members within the Acute Medicine Division for their urgent attention and action.

In the meantime, I would be grateful if you could contact my office at your earliest convenience on 01642 854500, where we can discuss your concerns in more detail, and the options available to take your concerns further, should you wish to do so.

Yours sincerley

Mrs Linda Oliver

Patient Experience Co-ordinator

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