""Do not complain until I am out of here""

About: Russells Hall Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

It began when my grand mother had a fall. She was taken to A&E at our local hospital, Russell Hall.

Cutting a long story short, my gran's blood pressure and pulse were checked, then we were left for hours and hours, with me having to go search for a nurse for pain relief and to see if we had been forgotten about. By this time it was 7.30pm approx, we had been there since 1.25pm.

A doctor eventually arrived, sat my gran up, pressed her neck asking if it hurt, she replied no. At that the doctor said "there is no need for an x-ray, not everyone needs them". He gave us a prescription for cocodamol and a therapist to walk my nan up to A&E with a zimmer frame. She informed us that she was going to try my gran on some stairs, whilst this was happening I went to get her medication. I could see my gran was in a lot of pain, managing to get her home given a little to eat and drink and upstairs to bed. Next day she was vomiting even water back in still shouting with pain.

I knew something more serious was going on, got her back to hospital eventually at approx 8pm. Again waiting and left alone for hour upon hour. At 2am the following morning a doctor came to see my gran and she was given an x-ray which showed she had a broken neck.

The nurses all of a sudden now seemed to be giving my gran some attention. A consultant was called in from home, who explained to me she was lucky to be alive, that the bone that had broke literally kept the head on the shoulders, it was only my gran's strong neck muscles that saved her. Also that this bone had splintered and a piece was lying and pressing on the spinal cord, one false move could sever this with fatal results.

At 7.20am she was eventually put on a ward. The care on that ward was disgusting. My gran obviously was immobilized so everything had to be done for her whilst she was gazing at the ceiling. At first she was fed but this started to fall off, she could not reach for drinks and was ignored for toileting needs. We even found when calling outside visiting hours to see if what my gran was saying was correct - the buzzer had been removed and put on the side table.

We waited quite often over an hour for a bed pan, the nurses would very often say do it in the bed. Medication had been signed for as being given before the actual time. I was there also when medication had been given by mistake when it had been stopped! She used to cry "get me out of here before i am dead".

Other patients were also being ignored. Nights and weekends were the worst. The one night there was only one member of staff alone working. I did complain and the hospital gave a reply, obviously covering up these facts. It is not just Stafford hospital.

How many more elderly patients have to endure this treatment or indeed die because of this? Nurses did not even give showers, only those who were able to go to a shower themselves had a shower. Nor washed anybody's hair or give pallative care. I had to brush my grans dentures, half the time they did not even bother to put them in. Also frequently had to wash my grans hands as they permanently had faeces under and around finger nails. I am a care worker and I would be sacked if I treated anyone with this level of substandard care and lack of dignity.

I went home wondering if I would be seeing my gran for the last time every day. She would say to me do not complain until I am out of here, it will only make things worse for me here. But I could not.

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Response from Russells Hall Hospital

We are acknowledging receipt of all feedback dating back to 2008, which was before the Trust began responding to all patient comments posted on the NHS Choices website.

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