"My Father's care"

About: The Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Vascular surgery

(as a relative),

My Father was admitted to Kings Lynn hospital for an aorta aneurysm operation on 12th Jan 09. He was in the operating theatre for 9.5-10 hours altogether. The surgeon telephoned me personally, to tell me why there was a delay etc. After several visits to critical care, we were concerned to his mental state, as he was very confused. They assured me this was normal due to all the drugs he had etc. His birthday was 23rd Jan, I visited and he opened all his cards and read them and ate some fruit we took him. On 26th he was moved to a side ward, he sat in bed talking and laughing with my brother and his partner. He was the same the next day and we were relieved that he was improving. However, the hospital closed to visitors on 29th due to sickness bug.

I didn't visit again until 7th Feb. I was disgusted. Here is what I saw: he was sat in his own clothes soaked in urine, dirty cups were left out, his lunch (3 hours after lunchtime), a bottle of tablets, there was poo smeared on the floor on his clothes and his shoes, toilet roll with dirty toilet paper inside it, his legs were bright red, swollen and weeping. It was absolutely disgusting. His mental state had deteriorated to the point that he did not recognise us, couldn't speak. Upon complaining, a staff nurse came to me personally and apologised saying it the previous staff were responsible, they then moved him to a ward.

A week later, on the Sunday, he was rushed back to Critical Care with internal bleeding, by the time we arrived (we live 70 miles away) he was in the operating theatre. The surgeon explained to us that his large bowel had disintegrated and his small bowel had wrapped itself around it to protect it, he told us the next 48 hours were critical for my father. The following Friday, I arrived to visit as he was being taken to theatre again, this was because his stitches were not knitting internally. I was told face to face by his surgeon that this was a hiccup and he was recovering slowly but surely. After 18 days on intensive care, he was moved back to a ward on the Thursday night. I visited Friday and I even put £10 on his TV for him and he was watching the news and Cheltenham gold cup as I left. Saturday he was bleeding internally again and unfortunately he died in the early hours of Sunday morning.

I feel that his care on the ward was sloppy and when you asked questions there was a language barrier, they did not understand me, they said. I feel that I have let my father down by not being more assertive and demanding his care was improved or by transferring him to a hospital more local to us, so we could have kept a closer eye on him and fed him etc. The day before he died, the hospital was closed to visitors yet again, third time since January. I have complained to the hospital and am arranging a meeting with them, but it should not have happened in the first place.

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