"Bad treatment of my mother"

About: Queen Alexandra Hospital / General medicine

(as a relative),

I am writing this letter to complain about the treatment that my mother received at Queen Alexandra Hospital. Living in France myself I didn’t’ know anything about the hospital.

My mother aged 75 was diagnosed in January 2014 with cancer of the ovaries, she saw a surgeon who decided with her to operate, it seems that when she did the tests for the anesthetic and heart, they found a problem. Her blood pressure was high and she had an enlarged heart.

She was told that she had to follow a treatment first for the heart and then they could operate.

They operated a few weeks after, perhaps too early as she had 2 heart failures during the operation and complications. I was contacted by my niece to come quickly as they had given her 24hours to live.

I went as quickly as possible, when I arrived in the intensive care she was in a coma [artificial I think] it was touch and go for a few days but she finally woke up and here is where her nightmare started.

When I first arrived a consultant came to see us, to explain what had happened, I was told that she might not pull through. the cancer had spread and they had had to operate on the bowl too, leaving her with a stoma (a bag which is attached to the intestines) also we were told that she was too weak to have chemo treatment. The consultant kept saying she would be kept comfortable..... What a joke! !

I tried contacting her surgeon, to ask for more information, I needed to know different things e. g. , could she travel to France to live with me, was the cancer spreading, why they had left her with a stoma bag ..The surgeon refused to communicate with me even when my mother said it was possible to tell me!

My mother was sent home, and home care put in place, which it seem was very bad, my mother was rushed back into hospital by a doctor after the results of a blood test, she was completely dehydrated and malnutrition (she went from a size 22 to a size 12 in 2 months)

I can’t understand why the day nurses didn’t realize this! ! My mother complained about the stoma bag which leaked everyday burning her skin raw! ! Also everything she ate was just going into the bag and her body was having no nourishments.

So was this stoma bag the best solution? ?

I don’t know what she weighed and I don’t suppose the hospital new either, ! Because in the end for them she just became a condition and not a human! !

Back in hospital different techniques where tried to nourish her but without success, here again I tried to contact the new doctor who she was under, and finally I can back to England to see my mum and talk to the doctor;

When I arrived in the hospital and I saw what state she was in, they had done another little operation with a tube feeding her directly, she was crying with pain as nobody had come to change her stoma bag which had leaked out on her skin (it’s like battery acid).

She was begging the nurses to come and do it .........it comes to something when you have to beg ....in the afternoon when finally someone came, I heard her screaming while they did it as it was so painful and raw.

Also she told me that nurses came and took her bags and creams to treat other patients.

This time I saw her doctor who came in on a round with some other consultants, he started to say “here we have a cancer stage 4 which is spreading...........”

I will never forget the image of surprise on my mother’s face; I made an excuse to go outside and asked to continue talking in another room (as patients hear when you talk just outside the door..as she had heard one saying she will never go home).

Here I managed to ask the questions that were worrying me, but at the same time I was under shock to learn she was at a grade 4. They also discussed my mother’s going home, but in the state and pain she was in I couldn’t agree to this.

Unfortunately I had to go back to France to work, my mother then caught a lung infections, which seems to be also a problem with the tubing they put in to feed her. She was taken into critical care where they drained of her lungs, we spoke every day, and she seemed to be breathing better, the day before she died she texted me asking me to do something quick as, they had put another patient in her room who had dementia this person was shouting and had chucked the commode full of wee and faeces on the bed!

I managed to contact a friend of my mothers who went up to sort this out. My mother died the next day, I only know because when I wanted to phone her my stepfather answered the phone.

I had not been contacted or notified by the hospital that she had died and what had finally killed her in May 2014.

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Response from Marion Brown, Head of Complaints and Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS), Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

I am very sorry to hear how distressing your mother's care was at the hospital and I would like to send my condolences to your family.

We would really like to be able to look into this further so would appreciate if you could contact our Patient Experience Team to provide us with some more details (e-mail: PHT.PatExp@porthosp.nhs.uk)

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