"My Grandfather's last days"

About: Wansbeck Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

I start my story from the last days of my granfathers life after a 12 week battle of complaints direct to Wansbeck's CEO and complaints people trying to save his life and ensure things are done properly.

I get a phone call from ward 8, granddad has deteriorated again. My son and I head up there. His score was 6 early in the morning now back to 2 Whilst there he gets some blood back from the lab, we are told to gown up and gloves on, granddad is still MRSA positive. The woman visiting the patient in the bed opposite looks horrified. We gown up on a 6 bed bay ward just outside granddad's bed. I feel for the woman opposite, she has just overheard that her husband is sharing a bay with a man with MRSA.

Dr came to see us before that to express concern and advise they are still treating granddad, however the next 72 hours will give us the direction this is going in. Dr tells me he’s very ill despite being brighter yesterday.

The gent in the next bed seems anxious. I ask my son to advise the nurses he comes back and tells me that he has been advised that R doesn’t need the loo he has a catheter, I then go and tell the nurse R is agitated, the nurse comes along, thanks me for advising him but does nothing, 2 mins later 2 other nurses come in and find they need to change R and make him more comfortable. R is left to rest behind closed curtains. Why couldn’t the first nurse see this and do something about it?

Another patient is wearing granddad's slippers, his daughter gives them back to me. Her comments are who is watching these patients? My answer would be no one, they fend themselves but I kept my mouth shut.

I was a committed NHS person, always gave more hours than I received in pay, I have the belief we have a duty to give as much as we can, its better than simply taking. I love my job, but this experience challenges my loyalty, I feel like telling it to them all straight, you could have done this better it didn’t have to be like this, just a 12 week catalogue of disasters where opportunities were given to improve, and they were simply missed. I’m not looking for blame just improvement and change to ensure people learn by experience and make sure it doesn't happen again.

I tell the nurse that announcing that my grandfather has MRSA with other visitors present is not acceptable. Her words are that X told me to tell you that you need to have pinnies on. I will not name the nurse, its part of a culture so hardly her fault. I cannot be rational at the moment. I tell X he can tell Jim Mackay after tonight’s episode forget talking, I’m too upset and emotional to deal with this right now. Angry isn’t the word. I’m devastated.

I go back to check on granddad he’s brightened up since the drip has started working his eyes are open, he winked at me and I got a smile when I told him I would be back. I held back the tears until I got in my car then I could not hold them back any longer, when will this nightmare end for us both?

24th May 2009

There’s no fight left in me today, I hold grandad’s hand its as if we have both given up.

25th May 2009

7:11 am I get a call to say granddad has deteriorated further I need to go in. There is nowhere for my granddad to die with dignity, there are no spare side wards. I am shown the plan of the ward and asked to pick a corner. I picked the corner that would be the least disruptive to other patients. Being asked to pick a corner for my grandfather to die in, what has happened to dignity? Those words haunt me to this day.

Dr explains that Granddad is to be put on the dying patients care pathway, I ask if they can allow him to go home to die, But granddad died later that day at 5:11pm during tea time and visiting behind a curtain. I said my good byes, I’m numb and my heart is broken.

12 weeks of hell behind me leads a two year wait for an inquest.

I believe it's not an isolated case, it's the norm. I say ask the 2500 members of Cure the NHS North East.

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