"My father's care at Lister hospital"

About: Lister Hospital

I believe that because his surgery was delayed dads bowel died, perforated, he was full of pus and had peritonitis. While waiting for his operation he and I were constantly told he was going in a 'few minutes' 'extra half hour' but it was over 13hrs after he was declared as needing emergency surgery that he actually went.. A few days after surgery while his bowel wasn't working he was on a liquid diet, but on one occasion he was given solid food. So he vomited, took it into his lungs and developed aspiration pneumonia and was very ill.

The day before he was discharged his wound completely broke open, and it was noted in his chart he might need a drain placed. The next day-no drain- no nothing- he was sent home with this open 5 inch by 2 inch full thickens wound in his groin. The referral to the district nurse for wound care didn't appear to go through and no one came to do his dressing.

He was doubly incontinent with diarrhoea so the dressing was soaked with urine and faeces. He lost over a stone in two weeks because he couldn't eat the food- I had asked for soft food or a dietary consult but it didn't happen. No one said a word about his discharge problems, the wound, incontinence, that he couldn't feed himself or walk unaided-and he couldn't be left alone.

He was sent home with 5 incontinent pads and 2 bed 'pads' my son had to go to the 24 hr Asda at midnight ( he came home at 6pm) to buy incontinent pads, pyjamas, towels and bed sheets.- everything we had was soiled . The dirty pads had to sit in the back garden as they can’t go out to the dustman. I had to arrange council 'yellow bag' pick up, get the DNA out -who tried to get him sent back to hospital and arrange for my own carers.

5 days later he developed urinary retention -that’s why he was incontinent he was blocked and dribbling-and went back into hospital. The district nurse insisted that tissue viability see his wound and maybe place this drain. Tissue viability did and agreed. But as it meant him staying a few days, someone from the original surgical team came up and clipped the wound closed in his bed in the ward during visiting time. He was sent home an hour later. When the clips from this still dirty draining wound were remove it reopened immediately and took a further 9 weeks to completely close.

My dad was 86, very deaf (and his hearing aid was usually connected up incorrectly by the nursing staff so it blocked his ear completely) and had vascular dementia so had poor memory. I had been his carer for 5 years and I'm a retired nurse. Yet no one ever told me anything about his condition. When I complained I was told by the matron conducting a meeting between me and the staff involved in his care that if I was nurse I should have realised he wasn't fit to go home. Somehow my fathers GP and the Dns thought I had taken him home against medical advice- but he was discharged by the hospital and i was told to collect him.

When I went to collect him at the time I was told to, he was soaked with urine; his head and hair, Pj's, sheets blankets and pillow. He was wearing a pad that fell to the floor and splattered urine.

I felt like my complaint ended up not about dad, but what I supposedly did or didn't do. He had 3 admissions -the complaint was about the 1st, wound care second- yet somehow the hospital confused them all and the consultant at the 3rd became involved. This took place towards the end of 2009 and the complaint still is. I've never seen the surgeon who was caring for him at the time I made the complaint about.

The whole thing was nightmare- and dad died a bit later from complications of the delay.

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Responses

Response from Patient Opinion

Posted on behalf of East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust:

Clearly the comments posted are very concerning and based on the information provided, we have been able to make contact with the person who placed them. We did this to make sure we understood more about what happened to their father (this case dates back to 2009), but also how their concerns were handled by the Trust at the time.

As with all complaints, we investigated the issues raised in great detail – including those around treatment delays, discharge arrangements, wound care and continence issues. All our findings were shared at a meeting between the family and clinical team looking after the patient, the outcome of which was also shared in writing subsequently. This allowed us to acknowledge that there had been some delays in our initial investigation, for which we apologised at the time – and have done so since.

Good patient care is always at the heart of everything we do, which is why we were saddened to discover that the family of this patient is still clearly unhappy – even after all this time has passed. We did carry out a thorough investigation two years ago, but unfortunately the family did not consider that our response addressed their concerns sufficiently. Our offers of further meetings with the Trust’s senior doctors and nurses were declined by the family, who instead approached the Ombudsman. Towards the end of 2010, the Trust was contacted by the Ombudsman stating that its team could find no cause to investigate the family's complaint further and had closed the file.

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