"Not enough information"

About: The Whittington Hospital

Sadly my mother died on the morning of Tuesday 22 April in Whttington Hospital. She was having problems breathing which she had had last year when she was treated at Chase Farm Hospital for fluid on the lungs and was up and about and off the oxygen after a week or two. It was not to be this time and I don't feel that adequate information was given to me on the severity of her condition. She was admitted to Whittington Hospital late on 10 April and given oxygen and water tablets. I had assumed incorrectly that the problem was the same as before, fluid on the lungs and she would get better in a few days. I was never told otherwise. She seemed to pick up over the week but a doctor rang me on the Friday before she died, a week after she was admitted, to say she was not doing too well and again on the Sunday when I was told that there was not much more they could do as she was on the highest level of oxygen she could be given which didn't seem to be enough. They could only ‘make her comfortable’. Mum had also had a urethral catheter fitted which, on two occasions, had blood in the tube. I mentioned this to the nurse who said 'nothing to worry about'. The day before she died when I asked the nurse why she was being given antibiotics I was stunned when she mentioned pneumonia, again I was unaware that mum had pneumonia. I think if someone is that ill, family should be made aware from the outset and not a day or two before they pass away that there is little that can be done. Mum suffered so much towards the end and must have been very frightened. Although they tried to make her comfortable, she was struggling to breathe and died in my arms.

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

We are very sorry for your loss; please accept our deepest condolences at what must be a very difficult time for you and your family. We fully appreciate that the information you were given at the time was inadequate and you may have a lot of unanswered questions. We would like to invite you to contact our Complaints and PALS office on 020 7288 5551 or at whh-tr.whitthealthpals@nhs.net who can look into what happened and arrange to have some of your questions answered. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us during this difficult time.

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