"Shocking & disgusting way to treat a terminally..."

About: Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Greater London)

This is only a summary – many shocking incidents of poor care. Mum has metastatic breast cancer which has spread to her spine and bones. She is always in considerable pain, especially on being moved. GP called an ambulance after she experience loss of coherence, incontinence, and loss of use of her legs. She was generally very poorly indeed.

She was in a very confused and distressed stated, suffering from both a UTI and hypercalcaemia (a serious life threatening condition). We arrived at 8am on 2 Feb by ambulance.

A&E was full to bursting - there was no room at the inn.

The ambulance staff said they had to take her there as they were not allowed to take her to darent valley (which is only 5 mins from our home ) due to 'postcode allocations'.

Mum was 7th in line.

No, not to get treated in A&E, but in the corridor outside of A&E.

During that time she had to be cared for by the ambulance staff only, who were at times having to look after the other ambulance admissions left waiting outside in the corridor. We were there over 4 hours before getting anywhere near an A&E cubicle.

During that time Mum:

- wet herself 3 times and had to be carried off by the ambulance staff to the general loos for assistance

- was in considerable pain from her spine cancer - no pain relief was given

- was asked for a urine sample, despite her loss of continence.

We managed to catch some on the next visit, but the sample was then lost by the doc

- a doc tried four times to get blood out of mum's collapsed veins - the doctor failed - leaving mum in a lot of distress and pain and blood dripping on the floor

- the only care she got was from ambulance staff - 15 of them hanging around in the corridor with patients rather than being able to get back on the road as the patients were still on the ambulance trollies.

- mum was in urine soaked clothes which we then took off but she was not offered a gown.

When we finally got in a cubicle the care provided by the lovely nurse was better.

But mum was still left for several hours whilst the doctors argued about what to do.

mum was treated rudely and asked questions she could not answer correctly due to her state of confusion.

If I had not been there I don't know what would have happened. In the end a palliative hospice nurse came down to A&E to see why mum was being treated so poorly.

She was told she would be admitted.

But at 11 pm she still had not been moved.

A full 15 hours after arriving.

She was put on ward 2 - absolutely appalling beyond belief .consultant tried to discharge her saying no medical reason to stay.

I had to call the palliative nurse and her oncologist who came down to disagree.

Consultant insisted she had no UTI when the notes said she had.

The consultant was raising their voice to mum who was distressed and confused saying no need to be there.

The oncologist had to overrule them. The nurse assigned to her did not even know she had spine cancer until 3 days later.

she is still in hosp now - with no discharge date

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Responses

Response from Queen Elizabeth Hospital

I am sorry to read your comments about your recent visit to the Emergency Department (ED).

All of our staff in the ED are trained to carry out their duties with due care and professionalism. I do apologise that this has not been your experience on this occasion.

Please be assured that all the concerns you have raised are acknowledged. I will be highlighting the points you raised to the whole team by sharing your experience with all staff so that we can learn from this with the aim of improving the future level of care we provide to our patients. If you would like your concerns investigated further and receive a formal response please contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 020 8836 4592. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback.

Tracey Murphy

Emergency Department Matron

Thank you for your feedback.

I can only apologise for the experience your mother has had.

We take all feedback seriously and as a reflection of our practice.

I will share your comments with my team to help improve the quality of service we deliver in the future, and the ward manager will ensure that staff have effective communication with patients and relatives.

Kind regards ,

Myla Angeles

AMU (Ward 2) - Matron

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