About: Leicester General Hospital Leicester General Hospital Leicester LE5 4PW
Posted by Julie Jones
My 81 year old stepfather Michael was admitted with a blocked catheter to ward 28 in the early hours of the 9th November. He had a history of prostate cancer which we'd recently discovered had spread to his bones. He spent seven days at Leicester General, most of which seemed to be spent waiting for his consultant, to visit him. This much promised visit never happened. After a few days Michael was moved to ward 29, which my mum tells me was an improvement on ward 28 - an observation I found quite alarming, as ward 29 was far from pleasant! It was extremely difficult to get any member of staff to speak to either my mother or myself to tell us what was going on, which seemed to be very little or nothing at all. When we asked for information, we were generally fobbed off and made to feel like we were a nuisance. The ward itself led onto another room, so staff were constantly walking through - hardly a restful space for patients. After seven days, we were suddenly told that the elusive Consultant was happy for Michael to be discharged, despite not having seen him. My stepfather by this time was quite confused and extremely frail. He could no longer walk, having been sat in a chair and ignored for the best part of a week. My partner asked if the ward had a wheelchair and was told he would have to go and get one himself from the maternity ward. Whilst we were relieved to to get Michael out of such an uncaring environment, we were shocked at the blasé attitude of the staff. My stepdad was clearly very poorly and needed acute care, yet the ward staff appeared to think it was fine to release him into the sole care of my mother, herself 76 years old and with heart problems. At home Michael fell twice within 24 hours and deteriorated rapidly. A week later he was admitted to Leicester Royal A & E, with septicaemia. Here the nurses took great care of him and the doctors took time to speak to my mother and I daily. He was transferred to an acute ward, and finally to Loughborough Hospital, where he received excellent palliative care from the amazing, compassionate staff there. Michael died on 2nd December 2013. In the last three weeks of his life, he and his family experienced the best and the worst that the NHS has to offer. Ward 28 and 29 at Leicester General was definitely the worst.