"Cambridge J ward William Harvey Ashford"

About: William Harvey Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

My husband was admitted to the ITU after suffering a catastrophic brain bleed. The prognosis was not good despite the fact he was only 40. The care he received on the ITU was faultless. I cannot praise the team enough for their care and compassion. He remained in a coma. However, as he was breathing unaided it was decided that he should be moved to Cambridge J.

He still needed regular suctioning of his throat and chest as he was unable to cough for himself. I followed him down to the ward and immediately felt like he had been "dumped" on the ward. He was in a very uncomfortable position in the bed. I voiced my concerns and had to wait for a nurse to become available to move him. I was asked if he was on any meds (how would I know this? ). He had also been wearing inflating leg cuffs to combat DVT which had been removed during his move. I was asked if he should be wearing them. I am not a member of the team! It was apparent that he needed suction at this stage but I was told by the ward sister that they don't do it as often on the ward. I said I felt uneasy about this as it could have consequences. They left it but agreed to suction.

Unfortunately he began to bring up bile from his stomach and needed cleaning up. I asked what sort of care he would be receiving as he had just come from ITU. The nurse assigned to him was newly qualified and also responsible for other patients. As they were newly qualified, they advised that there would be things that they couldn't do as they were not allowed. I had to leave not long after as I have a young child. I left feeling VERY uneasy. And my fears were justified.

Within around an hour of me leaving I received a phone call to say my husband now had fluid in his lungs due to this earlier issues and was back in ITU. This was a major setback for him. He remained on the ITU. He was still in a coma but breathing unaided so he was moved again to Cambridge J. The next day, at 1130pm I received a phone call advising me that my beloved husband had passed away. I was shocked that I was told this over the phone! I was asked if I wanted to come and see him and I said I would.

When I got to the hospital, I was appalled to see that he was still in the ward bed, which still had the various bits of medical equipment around him. I thought I would be taken to a side room and a doctor would advise how, when and why he died. None of this happened. The nurse couldn't tell me when he died as they had checked on him at one time and he was breathing but gone back again some time later and he had passed. I was told I could stay as long as I wanted. When I did leave I was asked if I wanted to take his belongings with me. The whole experience left me shocked and disgusted. He should never have been moved to Cambridge J on either occasion if he could not get one to one care. Being called in the middle of the night to be told that my husband had died is completely unacceptable. I only found out the exact cause of death when I read it on the death certificate. I think there are some major failings here and I would like them addressed and my concerns replied to.

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Response from Sally Smith, Chief Nurse and Director Of Quality, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for contacting us and sharing with us this very distressing experience. I am so sorry to hear of the death of your beloved husband, please accept my sincere condolences. This is such a sad time for you and it is really important we look into your concerns.

Please may you email me on Sally.smith2@nhs.net and I will take forward your concerns with the Matron in charge of Cambridge J and the team who were caring for your husband.

I am so sorry to hear of this poor experience.

Best regards,


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Update posted by ema75 (a relative)

Thanks for your reply. This is now being dealt with by the complaints team.