"Wound left untreated, elderly patient"

About: Darlington Memorial Hospital

My elderly mum had a serious fall in the care home where she lives in Catterick and was taken by ambulance to Darlington Memorial Hospital A&E late last Monday night, 28th September.

I was called and drove to meet her there.

Not easy with the A1 closures at the moment.

I couldn't believe it when I saw her, her forehead was swollen and her face was black and blue, she had deep wounds to her right knee and a cut to her knuckle on her ring finger, left hand. She seemed to get good attention we were there for several hours, I thought at times that some staff were impatient with her, she is 94 and has dementia.

She didn't want to have her rings cut off her hand and the procedure to remove them was difficult and painful for her.

There had been talk of a head scan but it was decided this was not necessary.

Next came the wounds to her knee, by this time it was about 2 a.m.

It was explained to me by the doctor that conventional stitches were not recommended.

I sat in the room while a nurse glued and closed the wounds (so I thought) with steri strip fabric stitches.

Then a dressing was put on her leg from her foot to above her knee. The doctor had given this instruction to the nurse to immobilise the leg but on reflection, I don't think this was a good idea for someone with dementia, being discharged, who wouldn't comprehend, would try to walk and so might fall again.

We were assisted to the car park and someone helped me to find the way round to the A&E entrance from the main car park (very helpful).

The nurse who had worked on my mum's knee took my mum by wheelchair to the entrance and we put her in my car and I drove her back.

Took twice as long due to road closures, got back around 3:30 a.m.

Next couple of days it appeared that her knee was still bleeding as it was coming through the dressing.

On Wednesday the care home called me to take my mum back to hospital (I chose Northallerton second time) as the District Nurse was not happy with one of the wounds.

However, it turned out that one of the deep wounds on my mum's knee had not been attended to at all.

How could that happen?

She has been in such pain and the leg is now infected, she is on strong antibiotics after intervention by her GP.

She is confused and upset.

Antibiotics at her age are not ideal, she needed more time and care, I feel I let her down but we put trust in the professionals.

Were staff just too tired that night or not able to spend the time needed?

I don't feel this was deliberate but shouldn't this have been checked????

Sorry to say very worrying and disappointing, what would happen to an elderly patient without support of a care home or relatives?

Northallerton Friarage A&E agreed with the method to close the knee wound but told me that as it was now old it would not heal as well.

Not sure when or how the infection set in or what more they could have done - will also be writing to them.

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Response from Darlington Memorial Hospital

Thank you for providing feedback on your mum's recent experience in A&E at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

I am very sorry to hear that you were unhappy with her experience and care on this occasion and we will make sure your feedback is passed to the Matron for the department.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you and if you would like to contact us with some more details it would enable the Matron/Manager to look into your concerns for you.

If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774.

If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patient.experience@cddft.nhs.uk

If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website.

The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients.

Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices.

Patient Experience Team

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Tel: 0800 7835774

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